Tag Archive: NPS

Midweek Steyn

Third-Party Statism




” Most developed nations have a public health-care system and a private health-care system — of variable quality, to be sure, but all of them far simpler to navigate than America’s endlessly mutating fusion of the worst of both worlds. Obamacare stitches together the rear ends of two pantomime horses and attempts to ride it to the sunlit uplands. Good luck with that. But we should remember that this disaster has been a long time incubating. The Democrats’ objection to the pre-Obama “private” health system is that Americans wound up spending more than any other country for what they argued were inferior health outcomes. But the more telling number is revealed by Avik Roy elsewhere in this issue: In 2010 (in other words, before Obamacare), U.S. government expenditures on health care were higher than those in all but three other countries in the world. Quick, name a European social democracy full of state-suckled wimpy welfare queens: France? $3,061 per capita in public-health expenditures. Sweden? $3,046 per capita. Belgium? $3,000. In 2010 the United States spent $3,967 in public-health expenditures per person — more than anywhere on the planet except Norway, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. I am confident that, under Obamacare, we’ll be outspending even the Norwegians. But in reality our so-called private system was a public system in all but name.”








Americans Pay $33.10 For Every Visitor To Clinton Birthplace

National Park




” It costs the federal government $33.10 for every visitor to the national park created to commemorate President Clinton’s birthplace — which averages just 24 people a day, according to a scathing new report that says Congress has created far more parks than the system can handle. “





” Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and Capitol Hill’s top waste-watcher, said in the new report that Congress is more intent on creating new parks than it is on spending money to maintain existing ones, which has led to major problems at some of the gems of the system, such as a $24 million backlog on work on trails at the Grand Canyon or the $2 million in tort claims the government faced one year from patrons tripping on bad sidewalks at Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia.

But the Clinton park, located in Hope, Ark., is particularly stunning since it was Mr. Clinton who signed a law in 1998 to try to clamp down on frivolous new parks — only to see Congress break that rule in 2009 to create one for his birthplace.”



The Hope , Arkansas national park is just the tip of the NPS waste machine . Read on :



” “The NPS is subsidizing Washington D.C. area concerts, preserving parks in foreign countries, and purchasing even more park property — including real estate on the U.S. Virgin Islands for nearly $1 million per acre,” Mr. Coburn wrote in the report. “At the same time, the crowned jewels of our National Park System have become tarnished.”

The 208-page report takes a hard look at some of the park properties and how much use they are getting.

Mr. Coburn said more Americans were struck by lightning in 2012 than visited Aniakchak National Monument in Alaska, which saw just 19 visitors that year. Indeed, Alaska accounted for three of the six parks with the highest cost per visitor in 2012, according to the Coburn report figures.”



     The Daily Caller offers many additional details in their reporting of the findings in Dr Coburn’s new report on waste and lays out some examples besides the NPS waste mentioned above . It makes for very disturbing reading and thus should be spread far and wide .



With 401 “park units,” 27,000 historical structures, 2,461 national historic landmarks, 582 national natural landmarks, 49 national heritage areas and over 84 million acres of land, just 10 percent of the National Park Service’s $3 billion annual park budget goes to the 25 most popular parks. And this year, maintenance will be underfunded by a quarter of a billion dollars, according to “Parked!.

The report explains that National Park visitor experiences are threatened by deteriorating facilities as resources are provided to “inessential activities,” duplicative programs, the purchase of more park units, preservation of foreign parks, and even subsidizing Washington, D.C.-area entertainment.

The more than 200-page report further highlights that while well-known entities like the National Mall deteriorate, lesser-known and unvisited parks suck up funding.

The report also delves into various categories of questionable parks:

1)                  Political or special interest rather than national importance;

2)                  Inaccessible to the public;

3)                  Important but would be better honored in a different capacity; and

4)                  Lacking national significance or authentic historical value.


Some of the waste highlights from the Coburn report include:

$30 million campaign to celebrate 100 Year Anniversary Celebration: To prepare for the National Park Service centennial celebration in 2016, the National Park Service has hired the Grey Group, a high-end international marketing firm. The NPS will reportedly pay the firm $6 million annually for five years to manage “a multiplatform communications initiative.”

$367,000 for music festivals: Despite the uproars of budget constraints during sequestration, NPS spent $367,000 to support various music festivals during the summer of 2013. NPS spent $29,000 on the Richmond Folk Festival, $18,000 for the New Bedford Water Front Festival, $58,000 for the National Folk Festival Showcase in St. Louis, Missouri, $32,000 for the Blue Ridge Music Festival, and $230,000 through two separate grants for a series of folk festivals in Lowell, Massachusetts. NPS even provides the Lowell Festival Foundation staff a “government-owned cell phone for official uses and the performance of assigned duties.”

$174,000 3D HD Underwater Imaging Project: NPS has provided $174,000 to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to document underwater natural and cultural features in 3D high- definition (HD). The project’s purpose was to show “rarely seen resources to the public through a stimulating and immersive 3D HD technology” surrounding various national park units, including Isle Royale National Park and Pearl Harbor National Historic Site. Instead of funding an expensive photo-shoot or rarely seen objects, the $174,000 could have been used to fix the too often seen degenerated structures.

NPS provides funds for Inflatable Fair Rides: The scope of the NPS has expanded to funding inflatable rides at county fairs. In August 2012, NPS provided $2,500 to rent inflatable rides at Hoover Hometown Days, an annual festival in West Branch, Iowa.

7 years, 3 studies and $731,000 spent investigating Gateway Arch for cleaning without any cleaning getting done: The NPS spent at least $731,000 on three studies over a seven year span to inspect the Gateway Arch for stains to be cleaned, without actually doing any cleaning. A public information officer said that “One of the reasons it takes so long is it’s not easy to access to look at closely…. We’re taking it step by step, we want to do it correctly, we don’t want to cause any harm, we don’t want to waste dollars starting a process that’s incorrect.”

NPS Video Game Production: The NPS National Center for Preservation Training and Technology awarded a $25,000 grant to a Rochester Institute of Technology professor “to develop an interactive video game that will transport students to virtual worlds of preservation and conservation archetypes.” The video game is based on the role-playing game, Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion, and players will be able to assume “the role of a conservator, conservation scientist or collection manager by virtually interacting with objects, materials and data embedded in quest narratives.” Various game options will allow players “to manage a library and protect it from the elements that accelerate deterioration. Another quest will allow players to take samples from ancient artifacts and analyze them to discover the secrets of its past.” NPS also developed “Hold the Fort,” a video game that allows players to be “in charge of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, responsible for the defense of the fort and the city.” In the meantime, the real Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Site has accumulated $3.58 million in deferred maintenance needs.

NPS spends $79,000 to collect data on “Visitor Perceptions of Climate Change in U.S. National Parks”: In August 2013, the Park Service awarded a $79,000 to the Center for Climate Change Communication “to investigate the climate change perceptions of visitors to National Parks and their reception of place-based climate change messages.” The survey will be based on Yale University’s “Global Warming’s Six America’s Survey,” which divides the public into six groups along a spectrum of attitudes towards the impacts of climate change from Alarmed to Dismissive. It is unclear what the connection between a visitor’s attitude towards climate change and whether they are inside a National Park boundary or not, but it is clear that NPS funding would be better spent fixing the visitors’ reality of $11.5 billion worth of crumbling infrastructure. The NPS expenditure is especially questionable given the massive investment the federal government already makes towards climate change programs. Between FY2008 and FY2012, 14 separate federal agencies spent $68.4 billion on climate change activities.

-And NPS spends $3.4 million per year for a Natural Sounds Program, which works to “protect, maintain, or restore acoustical environments throughout the National Park System.” The program produces documents that provide practical advice such as “visitors and park employees can improve their natural and cultural soundscape experience in our national parks by simply becoming more aware of the sounds around them.”

You can read the report in it’s entirety here .











Ridicule … Our Government’s Most Dependable Byproduct



Here’s a taste of the shutdown humor on display the past couple of weeks .


6. Mount Rushmore Was Closed





10. But at least the Canadian side was open





The Examiner has the rest








Disgrace: Memorial To Heroes Who Saved Washington From 9/11 Attack Closed By National Park Service




” Yet another open-air memorial has been closed by the National Park Service since the shutdown began, and this one is especially ironic — and infuriating.  The heroes of Flight 93 gave their lives to stop al-Qaeda terrorists who had seized their airplane from using it in an attack on Washington DC — either the Capitol Building or the White House itself.  The open-air, no-barriers-to-access memorial in Shanksville that marks the spot of their sacrifice got hijacked as a political tool by the NPS and the Obama administration:

CNS News went out to the site this weekend, and confirmed that the rangers still have the memorial closed — even though it normally has no barriers to access at any time:

Americans who want to honor and reflect upon the memory of the crew and passengers who perished aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001 will find that the federal government has blocked the road four miles down from the open-air memorial near Shanksville, Pa.”



 Now would seem to be as good a time as any for the states to take back the land/memorials that reside within their borders and free the federal government from the burdens of trying to be absentee landlords . Perhaps this can be a first step for people from all points of the political compass to come together and agree that the Feds have greatly overstepped their bounds and in doing so have deprived the public that which is rightfully theirs . 

    It is a well known fact that the closer to the people the authority resides the more responsive/accountable said authority is to the wishes of the people . With the federal government incapable of paying it’s bills or living within it’s means now is the time for the states to step up and say “enough” . 











Chicken Supreme






” My weekend column was headlined “Park Service Paramilitaries“. Just to prove the point they showed up today in riot gear.

Meanwhile, as part of our continuing series on the paramilitarized bureaucracy, following Seal Team Six I’ve tipped my hat in this space to Bunny Team Six and Deer Team Six. Now we have Chicken Team Six:

EPA Facing Fire For Armed Raid On Mine In Chicken, Alaska: Population, 7 “

Interior Allows A Dozen Iconic National Parks To Reopen

With State Funding




” On Saturday, the barricades at Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument disappeared, allowing visitors to return to the tourist draw despite the government shutdown. They also came down at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, Arizona’s Grand Canyon and New York’s Statue of Liberty.

What began as a sort of modern Sagebrush Rebellion — with Utah county commissioners threatening to bring in a posse and dismantle federal barricades themselves — has become an intense negotiation between Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and governors across the country eager to reopen public lands that generate valuable tourism revenue.”



” The push by some of the most conservative governors in the nation to get federal workers back on the job comes as President Obama and congressional leaders struggle with how to resolve the budget impasse.

National Park Service director Jon Jarvis signed an agreement in which Utah provides nearly $1.7 million for 10 days of operation at eight federal properties: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, along with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges national monuments.”



” Colorado signed a similar pact, offering to pay the federal government $362,700 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 days. Arizona will pay $651,000 to operate the Grand Canyon for seven days, while New York agreed to pay $369,300 to reopen the Statue of Liberty for six days. South Dakota will reopen Mount Rushmore on Monday, paying $152,000 to operate it for 10 days.










Park Service Paramilitaries




” But the one place where a full-scale shutdown is being enforced is in America’s alleged “National Park Service,” a term of art that covers everything from canyons and glaciers to war memorials and historic taverns. The NPS has spent the last two weeks behaving as the paramilitary wing of the DNC, expending more resources in trying to close down open-air, unfenced areas than it would normally do in keeping them open. It began with the war memorials on the National Mall — that’s to say, stone monuments on pieces of grass under blue sky. It’s the equivalent of my New Hampshire town government shutting down and deciding therefore to ring the Civil War statue on the village common with yellow police tape and barricades.

Still, the NPS could at least argue that these monuments were within their jurisdiction — although they shouldn’t be. Not content with that, the NPS shock troops then moved on to insisting that privately run sites such as the Claude Moore Colonial Farm and privately owned sites such as Mount Vernon were also required to shut. When the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway declined to comply with the government’s order to close (an entirely illegal order, by the way), the “shut down” Park Service sent armed agents and vehicles to blockade the hotel’s driveway. “










No Water For You






” In what can only be described as an act of spite, National Park Service rangers removed the handles from all sources of drinking water along several popular scenic bicycle and jogging paths.

The paths, running from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal will be closed at Cumberland, Maryland, and in an apparent effort to make it more difficult for the athletes, handles have been removed from all the well pumps along the way, according to the Cumberland Times-News.”











Americans All Over The Country Storm The Barricades Around Federal Monument And Parks In Defiance Of Closure





” As the shutdown settles uncomfortably into its second week, fed-up American’s across the nation are ignoring the federal government’s inability to get its house in order by defying barricades preventing them visiting national monuments, parks or malls.”



” Civil disobedience is becoming more common and the sight of veterans pushing through gates to pay their respects at the World War II Memorial or even a little boy unable to go to the zoo has left the Obama administration in an awkward position.”




“As thousands continue to visit national parks and others proudly post pictures to Twitter and Instagram of their alleged ‘trespassing’, one picture in particular has tugged at the heart and been held up as a symbol of the maddening gridlock on Capitol Hill.” 



” In Yorktown, Virginia, scene of the Battle of Yorktown, where George Washington decisively beat the British, the Carrot Tree Kitchens Restaurant is also refusing to close.”


Defiance: Over the weekend, one Twitter user snapped photos of Americans taking in Gettysburg memorials and monuments. The note in these pics reads 'Catch us if you can.'

” Visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center posted pictures of themselves on Twitter tagged ‘Catch Us If You Can.’ “




” Some other citizens – even in the face of obstacles – refused to back down. An estimated 1,000 hikers and bikers entered Acadia National Park in Maine on Monday, bypassing barricades and signs declaring the park and its roads closed, according to local media reports.”




Here are a few random shots of other acts of civil disobedience at our parks.









Here are some videos of our intrepid citizenry taking back what is theirs .





















Obama Gets No Questions At Presser On ObamaCare Rollout

Or Shutdown Theater



” It ran for one hour and six minutes, with 12 different reporters being called on — although, notably, not Ed Henry of Fox News — and between them they couldn’t muster one question about the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov or the spectacle of National Park Rangers locking senior-citizen tourists out of war memorials and/or inside their hotels. I admit that, near the end of it, when Twitter was already starting to buzz about the oh-fer on this week’s two unhappy topics, I started rooting for the press corps to ignore them, not unlike how you might root for an opposing pitcher when he’s throwing a perfect game against your team in the ninth. On the one hand, it’s a disaster for your interests; on the other hand, you’re seeing something historic in process. Today, we all witnessed a perfecto — no runs, no hits, not the barest insinuation in front of a national television audience that the federal government’s behavior towards the public this week has alternated between almost literally unbelievable incompetence and vindictiveness. Amazing.”


Read the whole thing

















” While our president still enjoys his essential employees and locations: the White House chefs, Camp David, and a military golf course, there doesn’t seem to be any question that in mercenary pursuit of a political win, this White House is determined to unreasonably punish as many everyday people as possible. And this includes children sick with cancer. That might sound like hyperbole, but it is not.

Although Barack Obama’s chefs have been deemed “essential,” employees at the National Institutes of Health who offer last-chance experimental cancer treatments for children suffering from cancer have not. Worse still, House Republicans have offered to compromise with the president and single the NIH out for funding. The White House has threatened a veto.

Using children sick with cancer as pawns is community organizing on steroids. And the media are covering for him. When the media thought they could emotionally blackmail the GOP with these sick children, telling their story was all the rage. Now that it is Obama and Senate Democrats wrist-flicking refusing treatment for these children, suddenly the media aren’t too interested in telling their story.

There are many other examples of this president’s cold-hearted fanaticism and willingness to punish people for reasons that seem to have much more to with spite than what is and is not “essential.” In fact, there are a number of examples where Obama seems to be spending more money and using more resources to close and block and inconvenience than to just leave it alone.

The media may or may not report on these individual occurrences, but what they will never do is provide the American people with the full context and scope of Obama’s shrill pettiness.

Below is a list of illogical, unnecessary, and shockingly spiteful moves our government is making in the name of essential and non-essential.

This list will be regularly updated, and if you have something you feel should be added, please email me at jnolte@breitbart.com or tweet me @NolteNC.Please include a link to the news source.”


Complete Updated List










Feds Try To Close The Ocean Because Of Shutdown



” Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was “closed” due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown. 

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban… of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

This is governing by temper-tantrum.”











National Park Service Now Blocking Access to Scenic Overlooks Due to Government Shutdown

” Since the government shutdown began, we’ve seen the National Park Service do a few eyebrow-raising things. It’s attempted to close a World War II memorial and even parking lots for a privately funded historical site, along with other questionable actions.

Now the NPS says it’s been forced to close…scenic overlooks.

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in D.C. tells the Washington Times. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” “