October 5, 2013
Obama’s infantile acts of tyranny should lead to a permanent change in the designation of “national landmarks” from that of federal oversight, to state and local control.
There are few things as surreal as metal barricades separating people from the natural wonders in their own backyards. Here in Western Colorado, the Colorado National Monument, a rugged region of red rock canyons, spires, and dramatic vistas, is as ubiquitous as juniper trees and collared lizards, but has been cordoned off by agents of the federal government. The idea that red and yellow barricades can be placed at the entrances to this corner of our home seems absurd.
The government shutdown–which is in fact a temporary suspension of a handful of services offered by the Federal Government–is the excuse for barricades to our National Parks and monuments, historical sites, museums, and other public treasures, large and small. But these sites are scattered across the country, and in reality, have little relationship to the workings of Washington D.C. Many, if not most, are run largely by private interests and donor endowments. The National Park Service may oversee certain functions within the parks, but the bulk of the work is often done by volunteers. These sites, shuttered by federal thugs and guarded by well-paid sentries, belong to the people of this nation, and specifically, to those who live next to them and whose recreation and livelihoods are directly effected by them. Blocking access to parks, monuments, and other historical and geological treasures is completely contrary to the original purpose of the National Park System, which was to encourage appreciation for the gems of our American heritage.
The larger the footprint of the Federal Government, the more of American life is stepped on by it. The Obama Administration, in a paroxysm of indignation, is determined to prevent citizens from seeing, touching, and enjoying those things that were created by individual Americans; explorers, developers, artisans, inventors, frontiersmen, and military heroes. Obama’s infantile acts of tyranny should lead to a permanent change in the designation of “national landmarks” from that of federal oversight, to state and local control. And this is the case for handing national park control back to We the People:
- It will be a cost-cutting measure. There will be no shortage of volunteers and interns to staff these sites as guides, groundskeepers, security, naturalists, and retail shopkeepers. Professional staff could be hired locally either by the state or the town closest to the site, wherein the need to provide housing and other personnel facilities would be minimized. Local employees will have a greater personal and professional investment in their relationships to the sites themselves, as well as businesses that provide services within the parks.
- Federally imposed shutdowns resulting in the loss of tourist dollars and tax revenues would not occur because the sites would be managed and run by the state and/or local interests.
- States and locales would contract to private developers, hoteliers, restaurants, tour groups, museums, etc. with a competitive bidding model, wherein the best product would be offered at market prices. When free market interests are involved the site, its facilities, and the general comfort and safety of the public will be improved. The days of $300K outhouses and dilapidated facilities at many federally-run parks and historical sites will be over because businesses competing for tourist dollars will have an interest in giving the public the best experience possible at the most reasonable cost.
- Attacks and insults aimed at groups, such as our WWII veterans who had to storm barriers to their own memorial, would never again occur, because placing the oversight, maintenance, and customer services into the hands of more localized interests will eliminate the politicization of our national treasures. States and towns are much more sensitive to the needs and desires of those who visit their parks and historical sites than Washington bureaucrats and politicians.
I will challenge any Representative or Senator in the United States Congress to introduce a bill such as the “National Treasure Protection Act of 2013 (NTPA).” The act will consists of a number of measures that will effectually nullify the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, and devolve control and oversight of the National Park System to the states.
- The title “National Treasure Protection Act” refers to the protection of our national parks, historical sites, etc. from political maneuverings by a spiteful administration, but more importantly, it would protect our greatest national treasures, the Americans who made it all possible; veterans, builders, artisans, et al, from being prohibited from accessing the sites.
- The NTPA bill will strip control of the National Parks System, as well as partially government-funded sites such as the Smithsonian Institute, from the Federal Government, giving it to states, localities, or cooperatives consisting of both.
- The NTPA bill will provide for National Park Service employees to retain their jobs inasmuch as they are willing to transfer their contracts to the states or localities in closest physical proximity to the site in question, and work under the conditions of that state contract.
- The NTPA bill will give control of vendor operations within the parks to the states and/or localities and base the awarding of those contracts on a competitive bidding model.
- The NTPA will encourage parks, historical sites, museums, etc. to work cooperatively with local schools and colleges to recruit volunteers and interns to fill a given percentage of jobs in exchange for college credit, stipends, volunteer hours, etc., as a cost-saving measure.
- The NTPA will prohibit the Federal Government from barricading, shutting down, or otherwise prohibiting the free exercise of commerce and movement within the parks and historical sites.
- Under the NTPA, sheriffs in the counties where the sites are located will maintain law-enforcement jurisdiction therein.
There is no question that removing our national treasures, such as parks, monuments, museums, cemeteries, memorials, etc. from the control of the Federal Government would be a legislatively challenging. But if there has ever been a time in our history that illustrates the need for such a devolving of power back to the states, it is now. The Federal Government does now own our national treasures, we do.
by Marjorie Haun 10/5/13
Tags: barricades, Closures, Colorado National Monument, federal workers, Government Shutdown, historical sites, legislation, museums, National Parks, Obamacare, The National Treasure Protection Act of 2013