Nearly two dozen people have been issued citations for entering Grand Canyon National Park after a partial government shutdown forced its closure. Grand Canyon Chief Ranger Bill Wright says some people have been caught at the South Rim, on trails, attempting rim-to-rim hikes or trying to sneak in through dirt roads. All of the citations will be handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Wright says each of the 21 citations issued as of Monday has a mandatory order to appear in federal court. A state highway that runs through the national park was closed after Grand Canyon officials found tourists removing barricades at overlooks along the road. Wright says law enforcement will be patrolling the park around the clock. Most other park employees have been furloughed.
Closing the national parks and issuing citations is just plain wrong. These parks belong to the people, not the government. The parks are paid for by the people for the people. Public property belongs to the people, not the government. All national parks should remain open, and those who enter do so at their own risks. I’m sure individuals would be happy to sign waivers for the right to enter their national parks and assume all liabilities for entering without the support of park employees. It is time to show our government that these national treasures belong to the people, and despite the government shutdown, we should still have access to what belongs to people of these United States.