Scott Walker Defies Federal Orders to Close Parks

When the National Park Service told Wisconsin to close its popular state properties because of the federal government shutdown, Governor Scott Walker said no way.

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. 

Even though federal lands such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore have been shuttered, the WI Department of Natural Resources issued a statement saying all state parks, trails and other recreational properties were open and not affected by the federal government’s budget problems.

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.

At the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Walker blamed both sides for partially shutting down the government.

The best way to resolve it? Look at what we did in Wisconsin. We had a $3.6 billion deficit; we now have more than a half-a-billion-dollar surplus. Every Wednesday — I did it this morning, before I came over here — I sit down with the legislative leaders and, you know, we figure out a way to solve the problems that face our state. We have an effective line of communication, and we get things done.

I think not just in Wisconsin but in states across the country there’s a lot of governors and lawmakers in both parties who wish the folks in Washington in both parties would act more like the states and less like our nation’s capital.

Of course, that’s easy for Walker to say because Republicans control both houses of the state legislature in Wisconsin. If anything, the lesson to be learned from Wisconsin is what can be accomplished when Republicans are in control.

Do you think more Republican governors should take Walker’s lead and defy the feds? Would this be a PR advantage for the GOP or just one more thing that will backfire?