Mount Vernon is the former plantation of George Washington and is owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which doesn’t receive any government funding. The attraction’s official website reads, “NO SHUTDOWN HERE – 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.”
However, a dispute began when the National Park Service began putting up barricades to block off the facility’s car park, blockading the entrance as well as a spot where tour buses turn around.
The parking lots are co-owned by Mount Vernon and the NPS, but require no immediate maintenance at all, meaning the decision to close them down was completely unnecessary.
The feds even blocked off a small area consisting of just three parking spaces.
After blogger Stephen Gutowski exposed the situation, Newt Gingrich got in on the act, tweeting, “The tour bus turnaround at Mount Vernon has been closed by federal police. This is deliberate effort by Obama to hurt the public. Disgusting.”
Numerous other sites around DC have been unnecessarily closed by the NPS and other federal agencies in what critics are labeling a cynical political stunt which only serves to punish the American people.
In some cases, efforts to shut down these sites actually require more manpower and resources than if they had been left open, highlighting the fact that this is an act of partisan theater by the Obama administration to pin the blame for the government shutdown on Republicans and opponents of Obamacare.
- Numerous hiking and biking trails throughout the greater DC region, despite requiring zero immediate maintenance or patrols, have been closed down. Irate citizens are merely flouting the law and using them anyway.
- The NPS has stationed officers along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal that runs 184 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland to make sure nobody uses the bike paths. It would have required less manpower to keep this trail open. The handles on all the well pumps have also been removed.
- The feds also shut down a tiny park in which children play on fake turtles, prompting angry mothers to remove the barriers, only to see them put back up. “The park is extremely small and sort of seems pointless to block off,” reports the Daily Caller.
- Lincoln Park in DC, which is known to be used by several Democratic Senators, was not shut down, but numerous national parks across Montana were closed.
- The most widely reported case occurred at the World War II memorial in DC, where the NPS tried to prevent veterans from seeing the monument by erecting barriers and even threatening vets with arrest. The veterans stormed through the barricades anyway.
“People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument because they’re trying to play a charade,” Senator Rand Paul told Fox News.
Senior Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee are considering opening up an investigation into where the Obama administration directly ordered the “outrageous” closure of the memorial as part of a ploy to “make the current lapse in appropriations as conspicuous and painful to the public as possible,” according to the letter from chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and subcommittee chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah.