Armed Park Cops Locked Up Yellowstone Tourists During Shutdown

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Bureaucracy multiplies insanity. The insanity of Obama Inc. appears to have been further multiplied by the disastrous mess that the National Park Service has become.

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

The message that we’re getting from places like the Claude Moore Colonial Farm and Pisgah Inn is that the National Park Service is broken. It needs fixing and people who behave this way need firing.

Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.

Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” said Vaillancourt, who grew up in Lawrence. “It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, ‘we’re sorry,’ it was all like — ” as she clenched her fist and banged it against her forearm.

Why would they? This is an armed bureaucracy.

As the bus made its 2.5-hour journey out of Yellowstone, the tour guide made arrangements to stop at a full-service bathroom at an in-park dude ranch he had done business with in the past. Though the bus had its own small bathroom, Vaillancourt said seniors were looking for a more comfortable place to stop. But no stop was made — Vaillancourt said the dude ranch had been warned that its license to operate would be revoked if it allowed the bus to stop.

This is naked thuggery. There’s no sense to it. It’s just rigid enforcement for the sake of enforcement.

That reminded her of her father, a World War II veteran who spent three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

“My father took a lot of crap from the Japanese,” she recalled, her eyes welling with tears. “Every day they made him bow to the Japanese flag. But he stood up to them.

“He always said to stand up for what you believe in, and don’t let them push you around,” she said, adding she was sad to see “fear, guns and control” turned on citizens in her own country.

Unfortunately under Obama, this isn’t her country anymore. Not until Americans take it back.

  • MalalchHaMavet

    You can bet your bippee, that Ozero will demand that be elected PRESIDENT FOR LIFE

  • BS77

    The government is too big, too ridiculous, too expensive, too corrupt, too inefficient, too incompetent, too absurd, too Orwellian…and fill in all the rest you can list…….

  • Veracious_one

    Obama is jealous of all the worlds best known dictators….

  • Veracious_one

    can’t wait to see what happens when Obama declares martial law…

    • Boogie’s Daddy

      Why wait? Read some history.
      Many citizens will die. The most helpless and innocent first.
      The radicals that empower Obama will not stop at anything to keep their position. They feel to their bones that “we” have got it coming to us. Once the shooting starts it won’t stop until one side or the other is either out of ammunition or dead.
      And none of it will be accurately or honestly reported until years later when the mass graves are exhumed.
      Now you know.

      • john derrick

        I agree. It will be ugly. Of course Hitler had no trouble finding guards for Dachau,etc. Just following orders don’t you know.

      • laura

        yes alex jones says that, he needs to cut the hysterics, drama. i think it will happen in a different way than we think.

  • Veracious_one

    For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors
    from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a
    Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

    make the Obama pay for the hotel rooms and meals and reimbursement of all the tourists travel expenses…

    • laura

      please explain this: why are tourists so dumb? didnt anyone know about the shiutdown? why didnt they cancel the trip? somethings wrong w/this picture.

      • defcon 4

        How hell was anyone supposed to know just what the government shutdown would entail? The White House Mugabe certainly didn’t indicate anything.

      • A Z

        The trips might have been planned 3 months, 6 months a year in advance.

        They might be low information voters, who do not really know there is a budget showdown or thought through the implications. But if they were low V before, they know enough now that the President has a D behind his name.

        Do we really have to consider that we cannot do business in the month of October because some child might throw up barrycades?

        The 1995 shutdown (Shutdown #17) was 21 days in length. If we were going to be super careful we might have to scratch off the 1st week or 2 of the November as well.

        Barry is such a bad president, we might be better off with Kim Jung Un as President.

        • laura

          even if the trips were booked in advance, the tourists should have not gone. worst thing is that they lose the $$.

          • A Z

            Some people on this Earth want to do more that eat work sleep and sh/t!

            This would include learning philosophy and sight seeing.

            People get Cabin Fever. They work all year or maybe have their big vacations every few years or so. To fly across an ocean in the case of foreigners only to find a petulant man child of a progressive shut down things in a tantrum is not something most people contemplate.

            It may not be rational, but it is every bit as real as the desire to enjoy food, the urge to procreate, the urge to migrate …

            I am glad that I got to see so much of the world before the progressives have turned the world into sh/t.

          • laura

            in say again: there goes the tourist industry. word gets out. there are many nice counties to visit other than the USA.

          • A Z

            No not really. Too many Muslims in those countries. Gypsies too. Think of civil order as being represented by a sine wave. Why not? There are business cycles.

            My parents were accosted by Gypsies in Rome. They were very brazen about it. They held a blanket outstretched in both hands and want to hug you. Of course if you feel hand all over you and you wallet is gone the police can say how do you know it was them. They did not get anything but they sure as HeII tried.
            It has only got worse. It is very bad in France

            I have been to Paris and London, Cairo too. I know what it is like. The hate is palpable. If you are a Harry Potter fan and want to go see Kings Cross station don’t walk too far north or east.

            Been to South America too. Cab driver was scared driving thru the Muslim part of town by Iguacu Falls. Bush’s fault? In 1975? It has only gotten worse. the triangle that terrorism experts have warned about has been there for a long time.

            I figure Japan is safe. Although there are people sleeping in the parks and shanty towns. I was shocked.

            I figure China is safe … so long as you keep to the beaten path … for now. I have seen the faces of desperate people.

            So I scanned you your 150 or so comments. you seem legit. So no snark here.

          • laura

            youre correct about europe etc. it all depends upon where you go in these countries. for example i can go to NYC, & stay in certain areas only, same w/boston. i notice the crimes in NY are in very commerical busy areas, the west side highway, near columbia college (not good). for places like italy, there is a beautiful country side, exclusive. mexico has tulum- mayan riveria, san miquel allende historic district. there is st barts, st kitts, bahamas. guess what i mean is that budget travel is out. btw, i was in peru stayed in a really nice area, & contained my visits to 2 neighorhoods. no i wasnt in an armed car, though i did see them.

          • A Z

            I have heard that the Yucatan area where most tourists see the ruins is nice.

            I have seen some Aztec stuff, but not Mayan :(

            I want to see the Mayan observatory on Cozumel.

          • laura

            best to check w/consulate to see if there is a warning. the area you mention are ok, never had trouble as far i know. dont wonder too far from the hotel, dont drive in mex. have a good trip!

          • A Z

            Let’s put it this way. I know exactly how these people feel. I visited Chambord (Francis I’s palace) in France. Now if the French government had a debt problem (they do) and had a parliamentary battle over it, had an impasse and the government shutdown, I would understand it if I could not enter the palace (There is not much to see actually. There are no furnishings to speak of, the is not plaques to help you interpret and like China they know not the importance of effective air conditioning for historical artifacts.).

            What I would not understand is if there were are scenic highway pullout and they barrycaded at increased cost it to prevent from viewing Chambord from afar. This is what the Democrats are doing.

            It costs a $1,000 or more to fly overseas for 1 person. This does not include ground transportation and hotels. A person simply is not going to stop trying to see things from the toad (US highway and such).

            If our highways and jogging paths are so dangerous because of lack of maintenance or robbers that if park rangers are not there, one would be in peril, then we have bigger problems than the debt.

            I could understand that I cannot enter Mammoth Caverns because of the shutdown. I do not understand that I cannot step of the highway passing by the entrance to the caverns and take a picture.

            Democrats are going to take a huge hit. People will be going to the polls. 2010 was nothing like 2014 is going to be. Harry Reid is going to retire in disgrace, if he is lucky. The corruption probe is getting awfully close to him now.

      • Boogie’s Daddy

        The National Parks belong to the PEOPLE. They have a right to see them. The National Parks do not belong to President Obama.
        Obviously, if the Park Rangers are there the park can function. After all they didn’t build them or pay for them. The Ranger Service is there to “service” the citizens who want to see the splendor of PUBLIC land.
        Clearly it is now the Ranger Bureau of the Democrat party.

        • FedupinNM

          Exactly! We planned our vacation to a lake in East Texas 10 months ago. Now, we won’t be able to use a boat on the lake as the boat ramp is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, so it’s closed. The hotels/motels at Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc. are operated by an independent company that pays a fee to do so. Is Obama going to reimburse them? Of course not. What an embarrassment to our Country. Spending more money to close the parks than to keep them open, charging the daily fees. How stupid can you get turning down revenue?

        • Greg Rolfi

          The National Park Service is a branch of the Department of the Interior which is a part of the Executive Branch. If they belong to anyone, it is the current President and NOT the Democratic or Republican Parties.

      • truebearing

        Something is wrong all right. You have the IQ of a fruit fly. The trips were planned months in advance. No one knew Obama would shut down the government.

        • laura

          you mean they shut it down, AFTER the tourists arrived??

      • ziggy zoggy

        Some of the tourists were foreign and the rest were stupid Democrats who get all their news from the Monostream Media. How could they be expected to know Obama has shut down the parks Chicago thug style?

        Since when have Leftists and Democrat voters been informed about anything except how to do bong hits and get government social services?

        • laura

          ok, i forgot about mainstream news. besides some of fox, its a joke. i wonder if now there will be travel warnings in some countries for people not to travel to the US?? i wonder what is in their newspapers?

  • Veracious_one

    Obama can keep legal tourists out but he has no problem with letting illegal aliens in…

  • sandra

    2014 need to vote..Also, back Cruiz, Lee, Gorment, Rand Paul and the house needs to stand strong, if you get weak knees you are just agreeing with Obama. Forget the polls, just do what is right for americans, not politicans. Armed guards for snapping a few pictures.

  • Drakken

    This is going to come to a boil soon enough, just wait until those park rangers run into a group that won’t be so compliant, then things are going to get really ugly. For if one of those in law enforcement shoots one of those citizens, then it is going to be open season on park rangers around the country. If you are in law enforcement and you are reading this, be extremely aware of the orders you are following for if one of the law enforcement community goes too far and gets the peoples blood boiling, your all going to pay for it. The choice is clear, continue to follow dubious orders and get the public fed up and angry, or with a wink and a nod at least appear to follow those orders in order to keep the public from going completely into rebellion.

    • ziggy zoggy

      I agree. The FBI is probably looking up our IP addresses right now but people are getting sick of storm trooping cops. I seriously doubt America will go on a cop killing spree if that happens but it would set some people off.

      Which is what Obama wants, of course. Martial law and gun confiscation.

  • PAthena

    xIf the government is shutdown, where is the money coming from for the National Park Service to erect barricades, force people not to visit Yellowstone Park? Barack Hussein Obama is the worst president the United States has ever had, his tyrannical bent shown in his behavior through the National Park Service.

  • MJUdall

    Hope the f—ing rent a cops can sleep well at night.

  • truebearing

    Our NPS rangers, like many of the people hired, in all aspects of law enforcement, have been selected from a growing percentage of petty power mongers. Due to affirmative action and gay rights bullying, more and more “peace officers,” with a political agenda that is hostile traditional values, aka morals, are getting hired. These people, like Eric Holder, are not interested in justice or the law. They think they are the law.

    I had an encounter with one of these types a few years ago. A burly, surly female game warden walked up to me, as I stood on the shore of a Northern Wisconsin lake, making my ceremonial first few (thousand) casts on opening day of the fishing season. The warden gruffly demanded to see my license, which I quickly produced. She then proceeded to inform me that I was illegally fishing, due to special zones that were created to restrict harvesting bass before a certain date. When I politely explained that I was fishing catch and release, she insisted that the bass zone wasn’t open between certain highways until later in the summer. She was wrong on all counts, and I knew it, so after debating with her until she was ready to write me a ticket, I left…furious, but without a ticket.

    When I got back in the truck, my wife informed me that the warden, before walking down to harass me, looked over at her and gave her a big, friendly grin…that really creeped my her out.

    The bullying warden was unaware that I had been part of a small group of people who had defeated the governor, his DNR director, and the head of Wisconson tourism, when they attempted to remove the bass season regulations earlier that year. I knew the regulations well, and also knew many higher ups in the DNR. They surreptitiously helped us defeat their bosses in the deregulation fight.

    Upon returning home from the trip, and still furious, I called the head of the DNR wardens. Armed with my story, and several more from area locals, I regaled him with the absurdly inaccurate reasons she gave me for stopping me from fishing, along with tales from local people of her purposely triggering tip-ups during ice fishing season so she could ticket the men for unattended tip-ups. I expected him to defend her. He didn’t.

    It turns out that this woman had — a lesbian with a well documented dislike of men — a long record of harassing men wherever she was stationed. She had to be repeatedly reassigned due to her aggressive bullying and lack of professionalism. She couldn’t be fired because of….you guessed it… the union. She was using her law enforcement position to, apparently, get even with men for being what she couldn’t be….and it’s happening all over the country. Too many people in law enforcement are going into it for the power to enforce an agenda, not to maintain the peace.

    • tickletik

      This woman needs to have this story, her name, and a photo attached to it put out into the public.

    • ziggy zoggy

      That kind of petty power trip is the norm in law enforcement. Cops are only heroes in Hollywood.

      Misandry is also the norm for American lesbians. Most foreign lesbians like to hang out with men, which makes much more sense.

    • Drakken

      As someone who used to be a LEO I used to run into those bull dykes all the time, they always would say that they are as good as any man in a fire fight or just as tough, I would always ask if they want to go to the gym and prove it, they never did. Oh if that happens to you next time, find out where here truck is and put a tracking device on it and have the folks have some fun with her as in making multiple calls in different locations, fun times.

  • tickletik

    I think one thing that we as conservatives should push for immediately is to make it clear that WHEN we take this country back we are going to be firing a lot of bastards in the NPS. That means these stories must have names and positions attached. For example, who was the disgusting little Nazi bitch that first started barking about “recreating”? We need to find out what her name is and make it public. Rmember the biggest rule of the left? To personalize what they are attacking? Well they have just handed us a gift with this thuggery, lets start taking photos, creating memes, ATTACHING NAMES to who is doing what. The power of these thugs lies in their anonymity. They hide behind their badges. Well those badges make them accountable to us, IF we push for it.

    We should be repeating these storis with the names of those responsible said over and over, we must PROMISE these sons of bitches that there is going to be a reckoning when we vote the current lot out of power, and that we will hold them accountable for even the SLIGHTEST infraction, for CERTAIN they are losing their jobs for this. This is something we must do.

  • laura

    i heard that the govt was shut down 17xs. these days w/all that happening, that would be a red flag, especailly w/obama. imyslef had canceled international travel & rerouted because of things that were going on. the tour agencies dont give a damn.

    • Patriot077

      There have been that many shutdowns but NEVER has our government used it as a tool to punish the people rather than attempting to prioritize spending. This administration has spent more to close facilities than it costs to keep them open. And many of the facilities they closed are privately funded and maintained. This is truly spiteful and I can’t imagine how anyone can think it is normal in any sense of the word. And it is coming from the top. #Spitehouse is very appropriate.

      • laura

        there goes the tourist industry.

    • Gee

      Yes the government has shut down before – but they have never closed down like this before.

      Odumba has taken this to whole new level

      • laura

        the message: illegals 3rd world welcome. everyone else get out!

  • stonefellow

    This is what the POS wants to do with his FEMA troops, and this is why he wants to take away the guns. We may have a civil war. In the meanwhile, Congress needs to investigate this matter and fire the threatening idiots.

  • FTFU-FedUP!

    At One Time American Patriots risked their Property, Risked their Lives and Risked their Future, Risked their Livelihood resist Tyranny,and threats to Their Freedom!

  • spin43

    Why haven’t the states sent in sheriffs, state troopers, or national guards to open up these parks, then use imminent domain to take possession. Stop being such whimps!

  • catherineinpvb

    Clearly (no?) that this a huge violation of our Constitution and our Civil Rights as citizens? And when Park Rangers. . .can turn ‘stasi’ per Obama Directive; then we should not doubt; their power as Elections ‘loom’. We will know in short time; whether Obama is wearing the ‘ring’; or at the least; can hold onto it.

  • Neal Gaylor

    We have allowed the communists to take over America. Wait, it WILL get worse!!!

  • Katy Henderson

    AND, as he goes and prays before his god at the seat of his god in pergamon the people pay him no mind, nor understand the sinister things he understands…no, they heed him no mind, not knowing what is set among them.

  • Katy Henderson

    30, OOO GUILLOTINES have been ordered for your people. And still the people have no mind, nor clue. Wake UP America. You are in DANGER! You have been warned and warned time and again. And still you pay no mind.

  • Katy Henderson

    Who opposeth all that is Godly, and worships not even the gods of his fathers.

  • Katy Henderson

    Obama and Janet Napolitano have ordered ANOTHER 15, OOO ARMED RUSSIAN TROOPS to help SECURE AMERICAN PEOPLE in an UPCOMING MAJOR EMERGENCY. Watch your house people.

  • Lorraine Jacobs

    I believe that the shutdown was over and I really do hope that it this happen again. This can really affect on Obama’s governance and I do not know if he will still get his place next election. -http://www.hotelnparking.com/