Posted by William A. Jacobson Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 8:30am
Not satisfied shutting the monument even though the State offered to pay to keep it open, the feds placed cones to block viewing areas in the distance.
As bad as the Battle of the Barrycades is in Washington, D.C., forcing WWII Vets to have to push their way past barricades at the WWII Memorial,Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and Iwo Jima Memorial, what the feds did at Mount Rushmore has to be the most petty and insane of them all.
The feds didn’t just shut the access roads — even though the state offered to pay to keep them open — it erected cones along a viewing road in the distance to prevent people from pulling over to view the presidential monument.
“Blocking access to trails and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction was one thing, but state officials didn’t expect Congress’ budget stalemate to shut down a view of Mount Rushmore.
The National Park Service placed cones along highway viewing areas outside Mount Rushmore this week, barring visitors from pulling over and taking pictures of the famed monument.
The cones first went up Oct. 1, said Dusty Johnson, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff. The state asked that they be taken down, and federal officials did so with some of them. The state was told the cones were a safety precaution to help channel cars into viewing areas rather than to bar their entrance.”
The Governor of South Dakota isn’t buying the “channel cars into viewing area” excuse for cones which only appeared after the feds had shut the monument:
“I think reasonable people can disagree about that,” Johnson said.
Daugaard offered to keep Mount Rushmore open using state resources, Dusty Johnson noted. The National Park Service declined.
“I can’t even believe we’re having this conversation,” he said.
This Buffalo (NY) News report makes pretty clear that blocking viewing areas was part of the federal strategy:
“People were upset. We were looking forward to the trip, and Mount Rushmore was the main thing,” said Hilde Werneth of North Collins, who organized the trip through a national touring company. “People were disappointed, but what can you do? It’s beyond our control. People said, ‘Vote them out.’ ”
The entrance to the park, parking lots and highway pull-off areas where people usually are allowed to stop their vehicles for photographs of the monument all were blocked to any traffic, said Werneth.
“It’s all closed up,” she said. “They won’t even let you stop and take a picture. You can only drive by.”
The trip, which had been planned for about a year, consists mostly of senior citizens from North Collins, Eden, Hamburg, Boston and Angola. And there were many veterans traveling, as well. Some may not be able to return to the South Dakota landmark.
The government did not manage to block all viewing areas, but that it tried says everything about the mean-spiritedness and pettiness of the Obama administration