5.10.13

NULLIFICATION?

The National Park Service apparently contributes some money to the operation of Wisconsin state parks.  Not enough, though, to give them authority to close those parks.
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.

State officials opted to keep public lands open as Gov. Scott Walker blamed both Republicans and Democrats for the partial government shutdown and said congressional leaders should run the nation more like Wisconsin. Democrats balked at those comments, saying the Republican governor has had a tumultuous tenure that has divided people.

Even though federal lands such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshorehave been shuttered, the DNR 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.

But in a sign of defiance, the DNR removed the barricades at the landing, saying it had the legal authority to operate the launch under a 1961 agreement with the federal government.
The same article reports that the national forests in Wisconsin are closed, meaning there is an embargo on the issuance of permits.  Good luck with anything more restrictive: there are large parts of the Nicolet National Forest that abut private property (go hiking north from the old Stankevitz compound on Gilkey Lake, cross Sunset Road, strictly speaking, you're transgressing the law.)  There's apparently a major industry using the national forests for commercial purposes that hikers ought be aware of.

Wisconsin's defiance (no surprise that a Republican governor and legislature would take advantage of a petulant Democratic president, from Illinois, no less) suggests a course of action for beleaguered university presidents.  It's a common complaint from Madison to DeKalb to San Diego that legislators are attempting to dictate 100% of what the state universities do, whilst providing a share of operating budgets that seems as small as the National Park Service's contribution to the operation of Wisconsin's state parks.

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