I had to see for myself.

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Sadly, they were not joking around.
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I understand that with poaching and other shenanigans this is probably necessary, but it is nonetheless sad that one of the “essential functions” is keeping LE rangers on the job to keep people out.  It’s easy for most Americans to go about their lives largely ignoring the shutdown, but if we give ourselves enough time, there is bound to be something which hits us personally.  For me, and I would imagine many Westerners, it is public land.  Everyone rightfully likes to bitch about the particulars, but it’s only the true nuts who advocate doing away with them.  Public lands are America’s best idea, with National Parks as the training wheels, more supervision required, Disneyland version.  I do think the current debate is worth shutting down the government, but not being able to go into my park (especially during my favorite month, when the hordes are gone) bugs me on a petty, gut level.