- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2013

The National Park Service has refused to honor Freedom of Information Act requests regarding conversations on barricading Mount Vernon during the government shutdown.

The reason? It would have a “chilling effect on the agency’s deliberative processes,” according to a statement given to National Review.

“I’ve spoken to some representatives from Mount Vernon and they believe that the parking lots are Under their ownership and we don’t have the legal right to close the parking lot,” Alexcy Romero, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, wrote in a Sept. 30 email to the park service obtained by National Review. “[W]e need to make a decision fairly quickly if there is a government shutdown midnight today in order to barricade those areas to visitors.”

The exchange that followed is a heavily-redacted document. The Department of the Interior subsequently attempted to justify the redacted information but “failed to explain how this discussion about barricading a very specific location during a very specific time period would affect Official Agency Policy in the long term,” the National Review wrote.

In October, a park ranger told The Washington Times’ Wes Pruden that the closures of many national parks was a “cheap way to deal with the situation,” adding that rangers were told “to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

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