Shutdown overreach: More personnel sent to WWII memorial than Benghazi; Park Service closes park it doesn't run

BY: Paul Bedard | October 2, 2013 | 12:00 am

The National Park Service is sending so many officials out to shut down federal parks that it might have to suspend furloughs if the government closure continues.

Two examples:

-- At the World War II Memorial on The Mall in Washington, where veterans have been staging protests to keep it open, Washington Examiner's Charlie Spiering reports that at least seven officials were dispatched Wednesday morning to set up a ring of barricades to block tourists from the memorial. That is two more than the State Department had in Benghazi a year ago on the night of the terrorist attack that killed four, including the U.S. ambassador.

-- National Park Officials closed down the educational Claude Moore Colonial Farm near the CIA in McLean, Va., even though the federal government doesn't fund or staff the park popular with children and schools. Just because the privately-operated park is on Park Service land, making the federal government simply its landlord, the agency decided to close it.

A Claude Moore Colonial Farm official said that the privately-funded staff is on the job Wednesday, but barred from letting anybody visit the historically accurate buildings or animals. Anna Eberly, the managing director, sent out an email decrying the decision and rude National Park Service staff handling the closure.

Pointing to Park Service claims that parks have to be closed because the agency can’t afford staff during the government closure, Eberly wrote: “What utter crap. We have operated the Farm successfully for 32 years after the NPS cut the Farm from its budget in 1980 and are fully staffed and prepared to open today. But there are barricades at the Pavilions and entrance to the Farm. And if you were to park on the grass and visit on your own, you run the risk of being arrested. Of course, that will cost the NPS staff salaries to police the Farm against intruders while leaving it open will cost them nothing.”

She added: “In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service, first as a volunteer for six years in Richmond where I grew up, then as an NPS employee at the for eight very long years and now enjoyably as managing director for the last 32 years — I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS. I deeply apologize that we have to disappoint you today by being closed but know that we are working while the National Park Service is not — as usual.”

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.
The National Park Service has closed Claude Moore Memorial Farm in McLean, Va., even though the facility located on the agency's land is privately operated.
Author:

Paul Bedard

Washington Secrets