Wisconsin governor refuses Park Service order to shutdown state parks
Hoping to capitalize on the government shutdown by making the American public feel the effects of the government shutdown, the Obama Administration — through the National Park Service — has closed the most popular parks, memorials and monuments around the country. The World War II Memorial has became ground zero for this particular part of the narrative last week when veterans visiting Washington were temporarily barred from visiting the memorial built in their honor.
But Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who is known for his strong stand in 2011 against public-sector unions, has refused the order and will keep state parks that receive some federal funding open to the public:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is defying orders from Washington, D.C., to close down several state parks that receive federal funding.
Despite receiving a closure directive from the National Park Service, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has decided instead that parks partly funded by the federal government would stay open to the public.
In the wake of this week’s federal government shutdown, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also placed barricades by a boat launch on the Mississippi River because it was on federal land. Wisconsin’s natural resources agency reopened it.
Wisconsin has also decided to not fully follow a Fish and Wildlife agency’s directive that hunting and fishing be prohibited on federal lands during the shutdown. Hunting access would be allowed in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, state officials said.
Though Wisconsin did receive a small amount of federal funding for its parks, they are still mostly funded by the state government, which calls into question the federal government’s authority over the directed closures. It also shows the perils of states taking money for funding of parks, given that they can become a political football in tumultuous times; like a government shutdown, for example.
This story is also important because Walker, who is up for re-election next year, could be a dark horse candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. Polls currently show Walker running in the low single digits, but that could change if he successfully positions himself as an outsider and reformer.