Yesterday the United States Park Rangers Lodge issued the following statement yesterday on its Facebook Page re: National Park closures. Those of you who are feeling inconvenienced by these closures and have chosen to take out your anger on people who are trying to do their jobs should read it.
A letter to the public regarding National Park Rangers and the government shutdown:
In recent days, media coverage regarding the actions of NPS rangers has been less than flattering.
It is because we are being assigned tasks that, at minimum, are an inconvenience to the public, and that many feel deprive them of due access to Federal lands and facilities.
Closing National Parks is against our nature. The reason we became Park Rangers and enjoy our profession is because we enjoy welcoming people from around the world to our national treasures, and providing for safe and enjoyable visits to these sites, while leaving them protected for future generations.
However, there is a law governing government shutdowns, the Anti-Deficiency Act. Over the decades, multiple administrations have implemented closures under this law. We are unaware of any injunction or other court-issued document that has ever overturned the government’s authority in these matters. For those who believe they have standing in these matters, we urge you to seek legal remedies in court if you believe NPS actions to close park facilities to be illegal. Life would be much easier for us if the parks were open.
Without any contrary court findings or changes in the law, we will carry on with the miserable, thankless, and pay-less tasks we are assigned during the government shutdown. These tasks that may be unpleasant, and make sensational news stories and fodder for pundits — but that are supported by precedent and legal guidance from government lawyers, under laws we are sworn to enforce.
While we are “not ashamed” to do this unpleasant task, we are somewhat less than proud of elected officials in Washington. This situation was preventable, and should be fixed. We’re also not so proud of those in the media that sensationalize and incorrectly report on our actions, and find it fit to blame those that enforce the law rather than work to change the laws or deal with the political leaders that make and implement them. The American people and our international visitors deserve better.
We hope that in the aftermath of this, that laws are put in place that either eliminate such closures, or make them more palatable to all involved.
Joseph de Maistre wrote, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” We hope you contact your elected officials and those in the media, and express your opinion so we don’t have to go through this nonsense in the future.