Government shutdown tells us Americans love their national parks

Survey reveals deep support for our national parks;

So does the efforts to place blame for shutdown-

When the “non-essential” government programs were ended for a month during the recent government shutdown, one that was missed the most was the National Parks system — the national parks, monuments, recreation areas, heritage sites, battlefields.

The laying of blame as well as efforts to reopen the Parks began almost immediately when the government was shut. Eventually several states used state funds to reopen some of the national parks. They haven’t been reimbursed. They are not happy, but then many of their members of Congress were architcts of the shutdown. Nevertheless, they thought it worth the risk at the time, including Utah which has produced some of the most virulent tea party, no government enthusiasts.

Now a survey of 1000 voters by The Center for American Progress shows deep support for the Parks, Monuments, etc. from the public.  Well over 80% thought the shutdown showed the value of the Parks. Majorities believed they should be exempt from government shutdowns and sequesters. The sequester has and continues to hurt the Parks badly.

Confusion over who was responsible for the shutdown continues. 57 percent thought correctly that the parks were forced shut because Congress could not agree on a new budget. Nevertheless, about a third thought closure was a political stunt by the President. 74 percent interviewed said Congress should not cut national park funding in the future in order to reduce the budget deficit. Only 15 said “yes” to this purpose for reducing the Parks’ budgets.

There are a number of recent articles on this survey and national park shutdowns. For example see:



  1. mikepost Avatar

    Ralph, the whole point of the administration was to create unhappiness with congress for failing to do their duty. For this reason National Parks will always be on the list to cut funds under these circumstances and the more yelling and screaming from the public, the more that will remain true.

    Personally, I think it would be dangerous for the public to be “spared” this pain and thus not be as active in pressuring their representatives.

  2. john Avatar

    obama kept his golf course open for his recreation, there was no reason not to keep parks open,,, in fact, Republicans offered an amendment or whatever you call it to keep them open,, but falls bitch harry reid wouldn’t even consider,, so don’t go calling out republicans on that,, it was selective cuts,, and all the bitch obama had to do was do what the repubiclans asked him to do, delay obmamacare, which, in fact, he did,,,at his own personal and political risk of tanking personal, trust and capabilities to run a organization bigger than an ice cream shop..

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    Mikepost and john,

    There will always be disagreement about which services are “essential” services in the event of a government shutdown (or anything else). The Republicans were cleaver to try to reopen parts of the government they liked or felt enough pressure on, but the Democrats held firm and did not break ranks, so they won that round.

    Other countries do not have shutdowns or debt limits. If the parties can’t agree on a budget in other countries, the old budget continues until they agree. Sometimes this can be a long time.

    The debt limit serves no purpose at all except as a tool for minorities to hold a majority hostage. It does not deter debt because it only comes into play after the debt has been incurred. Were it properly named, it would be called “We will not pay our lawfully incurred sovereign debt beyond this amount _____”

    Both parties can play the game of threatening default and shutting the government. Both have in the past, though the Republicans have done it for longer periods. In the long run, they are weapons most destructive. The debt limit is just too dangerous to tolerate any longer.

    Here is a general note. I wish folks would capitalize proper nouns like names.

  4. TreeC123 Avatar

    Same would be true about our National Forests and BLM lands if they would have locked all the gates during the shutdown. Hello Congress, Are you listening?

  5. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    It would also be nice to show some level (not necessarily a lot) of respect to those in position. I’m not exactly thrilled with Obama, even though I voted for him, and I loathed Bush2, but I never put in a a forum “bi!ch”. You can think that it’s fine, and you can use it in private conversation but it’s not really needed here.

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue


    2. WM Avatar

      I’ll go one step further, Chris.

      Andrews AFB Golf Courses (there are 3 of them), where the President golfs and which was kept open for one very good reason. Though subsidized as are many military recreational complexes, it is funded by user fees and member dues (military can join for an annual fee). So the folks play to pay. And, a civilian can play the course for $45, but for maybe good reason not when the President plays.

      Check your facts, john, before you spew. And, maybe even find the Shift key for proper capitalization/punctuation on your sentences.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan