Wisconsin and Walker Defy Obama, Keep State Parks Open

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.


No Barackades here

No Barackades here

Hopefully more Republican governors will stand up to Obama’s shutdown theater which is one of the few ways to push back against Obama and his media allies.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday refused a directive from the National Park Service to close a host of popular state properties because of the federal government shutdown.

The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil’s Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers.

DNR issued a statement saying all state parks, trails and other recreational properties were open and not affected by the federal government’s budget problems.

If the State was capable of keeping these parks open and staffed, why did the shutdown order come down? It came down for the same reason as the shutdowns of national monuments in public spaces that are kept open even when not staffed.

It’s about power and control.

The agency also reopened a boat launch Wednesday at Wyalusing State Park on the Mississippi River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed the launch on Tuesday because it was on federal land.

So now we’ve got a direct confrontation. Except the National Park Service isn’t likely to throw its weight around against a state the way that it did against a single colonial farm.

But in a sign of defiance, the DNR removed the barricades at the landing, saying it had the legal authority to operate the launch under a 1961 agreement with the federal government.

Since the State of Wisconsin has the right to operate it, there was no basis for shutting it down except Obama’s Shutdown Theater.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed all its properties, including the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge and the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The agency said that fishing and hunting on those lands were prohibited.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest also was closed. But the status of hunting and fishing on the 1.5 million acres was unclear. DNR officials gave no indication they would try to stop the public from using the forests.

Well they’re forests. You can’t expect the government to spend money keeping a forest open. Are they shutting down the mountains?

What about the Pacific Ocean? I hear it costs a lot to keep that thing running and requires a full-time staff.

On Wednesday, state and federal authorities came to loggerheads over access to state land when the Park Service directed the DNR to close properties in which the state and the federal government had a cooperative financial agreement…

On Tuesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was closing the federal portion of the sprawling Horicon Marsh, which attracts thousands of visitors during the fall bird migration.

I wonder if the Barackades will keep the birds out?

“Fall is one of the best times of the year to get out and enjoy the 1.5 million acres of state owned land in Wisconsin,” said Cathy Stepp, Department of Natural Resources secretary. “We welcome visitors to visit our state parks and forests… climb one of our observation towers and take in the beautiful fall colors, bike or hike our state trails, and hunt or fish on our many state wildlife and fisheries areas.”

Not if Obama has anything to say about it.

  • truebearing

    Expect to see the Madison Mutant Marxist Morons to gin up some kind of an excuse to protest in the state capitol. Maybe they’ll protest a lack of uniformity,,,,no, that would be the opposite of diversity. Maybe they will protest Walker’s lack of submissiveness to Obama’s dictatorial edicts….but wouldn’t that conflict with “power to the people” or speaking truth to power? I know! They can protest Walker’s obvious racism!

  • Veracious_one

    state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers.

    the less you rely on the Feds the better off you are…

  • DogmaelJones1

    I half expect to hear that Obama has ordered drone strikes against recalcitrant state governments, and sent SWAT teams to prevent access to all those state parks, with orders to use whatever force was necessary to enforce the shutdown.

  • ziggy zoggy

    I wonder if Obama shut down the White House kitchen and wine cellar and sent home the chefs? Is he using food stamps? Did he ground Air Force One so the Wookie can’t jet set around the world for vodka and caviar?

    Yeah. Right.

  • patron

    Beltway insiders criticize conservatives for having no end game.

    There’s a good end game. State governors sue, people find the Obama’s beloved big government only serves itself, and the electorate votes against Democrats who doubled the cost of healthcare.

  • Jason

    How can you close a park? These places are massive, 1.5 million acres is the size of Delaware, over 6,000 km2. You could walk in and out, and no one would know a thing. Greenfield is right, it’s all about symbolism. Obama’s the boss, and what he says goes.

  • CowboyUp

    These aren’t the kind of people one should depend on for their health care.

  • Informed

    I think there might be a difference in state and federal parks. Dem. Governor Beshear has kept KY state parks open. Why is this a story?

    • Willard

      The reason it is a story is because Obama sent a direct order, an order which is being blatantly ignored by Walker. It’s the symbolism that the ‘little person’, in this case Walker, is using his better judgement to tell the top brass (Obama) that the given orders are of less than intelligent reaction. Shutting down the parks means lost revenue for the state, and in turn for the federal overseers. Walker is effectively making the statement that, if the properties are not federal property, but local government property, then the feds have no jurisdiction to shut them down. If the feds provide the majority of funding for the lands, then it is within their right. The lands kept open by Walker and the DNR are mostly locally funded. Compare it to shareholders in a company if you will.

  • Cindy

    It is all about power and look what we can do to you if we don’t get our way! The “you didn’t build that” crowd is making waves again. Now they have a rallying cry for the 2014 elections to use against all tea party members in Congress. I have heard it already. The “majority” of congress wants to negotiate but just a few are holding it hostage. A lot of bs!

  • MrUnderhill

    They (the Nobama Feds) just want the regular people feel the pinch even though there is really no just cause except to make you feel or think your being hurt by the proverbial government shutdown. It’s all smoke and mirrors.