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Second, states and counties should demand right-of-way agreements with the Park Service to protect access to nonfederal lands where public roads cross Park Service holdings. If the Park Service refuses to negotiate with other governments, Congress should intervene.

Third, the various “friends of” nonprofit organizations that support individual units of the National Park System should appreciate that the agency could use some friends right now. They should step forward to reassess whether they could help provide manpower or money to keep their unit at least partially operating if there is another shutdown or sequestration-caused impact. Isn’t that what friends are for?

The U.S. Park Service must remember its mission as stewards of America’s natural and historical resources. Denying citizens access to those resources is the behavior of political henchmen. It must not be allowed to happen again.

Larry Craig is a former Republican member of the U.S. Senate from Idaho.