Over 10 trespassing violations have been issued to interlopers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks following the government shutdown last week.
Nine citations were issued in Grand Teton National Park and two more in Yellowstone National Park, according to park officials in this AP report:
Anzelmo-Sarles tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that people cited for trespassing in Grand Teton included cyclists, runners and drivers taking vehicles around temporary barricades.
In addition to closure violations, she says rangers have issued citations for taking a vehicle off-road and for resource damage.
Of course, this is the kind of thing foreseen by NPS officials following the shutdown: the rationale is that damage could be done with the lack of enforcement resources normally possible, and sure enough some dang fool decided to do some off-roading in Grand Teton. Following the closure of the U.S. government last week, both parks were closed; barricades were set up outside all gates, and visitors staying in hotels were given 48 hours to make alternative travel arrangements. These visitors trapped in the hotels were not given the opportunity to spend some time sightseeing; they were told to stay in their hotels (where all services save the main dining rooms) were closed until they left the Park. From the Livingston Enterprise:
Park spokesman Al Nash said that when the park is closed, it’s closed to all recreational use. Park staff have been pared down to those involved in the most basic life, health and safety issues.
“We don’t have staff on duty to deal with any ordinary operational issues,” Nash said Wednesday.
Hodgson said the gift shops, stores, rest rooms and visitor center at Old Faithful were all closed. A few other guests, sharing his group’s predicament, were in the area. The boardwalks to all the trails had “closed” signs and barricades.
The Oct. 1 government shutdown has had plenty of impact in the Yellowstone area; most National Park Service employees were furloughed, as were many Yellowstone Association, Xanterra and Delaware North workers. There has been plenty of frustration across the country with the closure of National Park Service parks and monuments following the government shutdown, and you can’t help but feel for folks whose travel plans were disrupted by the shutdown. On the other hand, you can’t take actions to close down the U.S. government, as the House of Representatives Republicans did, and not expect the government to actually shut down. As we pointed out, there are real-world consequences to brinksmanship in Congress, and it doesn’t sound like those who clamored for the shutdown of the government want to acknowledge those consequences.