Sarah Jean Seman

The federal government has been no-holds-barred trying to make the shutdown as inconvenient as possible, even if it means closing what isn’t theirs. Here are a few examples of the federal government’s entitlement issues.

1. Mount Vernon (attempted)

The National Park Service blocked Mt. Vernon parking lots last week. The barricades were removed after the “misunderstanding" of ownership was cleared, according to Mt. Vernon Media Director Melissa Wood.

It appears the police also stepped in to wreak havoc:

The private park updated its website to assure prospective visitors they are open:

“The Federal government may be shut down, but Washington’s home remains open. Mount Vernon has remained a private non-profit for more than 150 years.”

2. Arizona Parks (closed)

Park president Warren Meyer pleaded “Help!” Wednesday in a letter to his congressmen after parks in his privately operated company of over 100 U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in Arizona closed.

“...we have been told by senior member of the US Forest Service and Department of Agriculture that people “above the department”, which I presume means the White House, plan to order the Forest Service to needlessly and illegally close all private operations. I can only assume their intention is to artificially increase the cost of the shutdown as some sort of political ploy.”

3. Pisgah Inn (closed)

Park rangers blocked all three entrances to a privately-owned Virginia inn on Friday. Blue Ridge Parkway, a 470-mile federal road, remains open to traffic but National Park Service facilities along the route are being closed, according to Fox News.

Each of Pisgah Inn’s 51 rooms were booked at $125 a night for the entire month of October, said owner Bruce O’Connell. In addition to his lost revenue, 100 employees at the inn will be without a job.

4. Nevada Private Homes (evacuated)

The National Park service ordered around 60 families at Lake Mead to vacate privately-owned homes within 24-hours Thursday. The houses sit on federal land. Bob Hitchcock, 71, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the situation is more like a government meltdown than a shutdown:

“I seriously, seriously threatened to stay and not leave,” says Hitchcock, recalling that moment when a pair of park rangers delivered the bad news. “I mean, I thought, ‘Are they really going to come down hard on somebody for trespassing inside his own home?”

5. Claude Moore Colonial Farm (closed)

A non-profit organization runs this National Park. The government has not contributed to it fiscally since 1980. The unnecessary shutdown cost the park thousands, said Anna Eberly, Managing Director:

“We have had to cancel every event at the Farm this week so we have already lost more than $15,000 in operating income because October is the busiest month of the year for us. When the Federal government reopens, as it inevitably will, they will be funded by all of us. The Farm may never reopen again if we cannot open soon because we don't have any other source of revenue except that which we earn for ourselves. The staff has been here all week in spite of being threatened with arrest because we feel our cause is just and the Farm is worth protecting. And many of our volunteers are Federal employees that now have time on their hands. They could be here volunteering but are banned from the Farm. What an incredibly stupid waste of time and talent."

Private property rights are protected in the Fifth Amendment. Unfortunately, upholding the Constitution has never been a priority for President Obama.


Sarah Jean Seman

Sarah Jean Seman is a Townhall Web Editor. Follow Sarah Jean Seman on Twitter @sarah_jean_

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography