For the past year my family was planning a cross-country road trip in which we would stop at all national parks from NJ to CA.
I was rooming with sorority sisters at Ohio state university when I heard the news. On our way out to our first park (Badlands, SD) the government shutdown occurred. I was more upset than you could ever imagine. Only 17 percent of the government was shutdown and, of all things to shut down, the national parks were first.
My father told me not to fret and we’d still find a way to get in our fun. We were unable to visit Yellowstone in WY, Arches National Park in UT and the actual parks of Mount Rushmore in SD. However, we were able to drive right through half of the Badlands since they are situated next to a state road that connects to an interstate highway to a small town.
Of course, park rangers coned off all scenic overlooks and walkways before leaving the park. This only angered us as well as the other tourists we encountered. Not only did the government shut down all of the national parks but they also attempted to make it impossible to even take a picture or even look in the direction of the monuments.
National parks are run by my tax dollars. I am on a state road and I should not have any restrictions as to where my eyes can wander or whether I can pull over into a shoulder on the side of the road.
Mount Rushmore was the most aggravating. Park rangers showed up in full force on state highways that included overlooks of the monument to make sure no one was moving too slowly or parked on the side of the roads. I was even threatened by a ranger for attempting to take a photo of a mountain goat that was not within the national park boundaries.
We were informed by a resident of the town of Custer, SD that park rangers for Mount Rushmore were not being paid for their required time off. So, in theory this proves the actions taken by park rangers are to make this shutdown as painful as possible for all of the American people. I actually posted a photo of my father throwing one of the cones at the badlands national park partially as a joke and partially out of aggravation on my Facebook page.
As of 4:30 p.m. pacific time, that photo has almost 90 thousand likes and almost 15 thousands comments because Michelle Malkin, whom has over 1.1 million followers, found the photo humorous and posted it on her Facebook page.