The Recalcitrant Party

GOP leaders need to give up their feckless crusade against President Obama

One of the consequences of the government shutdown has been the closure of the national parks. And while the shuttering of public lands may seem only an inconvenience, there’s actually much more at stake here.

On Tuesday (Oct. 1), the CN&R received press releases from a number of California’s closed-down parks. For Yosemite National Park, the shutdown fell on the iconic park’s 123rd birthday.

Closer to home, Lassen Volcanic National Park shared the news of closures with some eye-opening figures. As explained in a press release from the office of Darlene M. Koontz, superintendent of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the park will lose about $1,600 per day in entrance and camping fees, while the concessions providers will lose about $125,000.

There, as in other parks around the nation, all of the visitor facilities were immediately closed. On top of that, campground visitors were basically given a 48-hour eviction notice. In other words, visitors who may have traveled far for a long-planned stay at the park will be getting booted on Thursday (Oct. 3)—unless the shutdown is resolved (it was still in place as of press time).

Nationwide, the National Park Service will lose an estimated $450,000 each day from various fees (not counting the concessions). Then there’s the toll on park employees. At Lassen, 115 workers are on furlough, while 25 concessions employees are left without work. The communities surrounding the nation’s parks that rely on revenues from visitors will also take a big hit financially—an estimated $76 million a day.

The shutdowns, of course, go well beyond the parks system. An estimated 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed as a result and will remain unpaid until the GOP abandons its feckless crusade against President Obama. The only lesson to come out of this mess is that the House is being led by a recalcitrant party that puts politics over people.