Park Rangers blocked the entrance to the Pigsah Inn off the Blue Ridge Parkway, telling prospective customers that it was closed. The Pigsah Inn is a privately owned establishment. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a road maintained by the NPS that couldn’t be closed because it is the main artery between cities and is considered a main thoroughfare.
Bruce O’Connell, owner of the inn, received a letter from the National Park Service, telling him to close down until the government shutdown was over. The idea of closing parks and other government establishments is ostensibly to save money. Thr Pigsah Inn, which is a private concern and has no NPS personnel working on site, is actually costing the NPA more, since they have assigned two officers to block the entrance and force it’s closure.
After a few days of being closed, O’Connell decided enough was enough and reopened his business on Friday, defying the NPS. Is an IRS audit far behind? His in is on private property along a highway which is open. He is defying the NPS to close the inn, because he simply believes the NPS does not have the authority to close a private business that pays all of it’s own bills.
The Pigsah Inn is not a unique situation as the NPS has also closed City Tavern in Philadelphia, and Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge on Cape Cod. They have also closed down the Atlantic Ocean, believe it or not. There is talk in Washington of a major investigation into the actions of the NPS and questions as to is ordering these closures, although it’s unlikely the head of the NPS would do these things without the explicit order or blessing of the oval office.
Michael Litterst, the Park Service’s chief spokesman said:
“It’s a matter that we consider the National Park System to be a single entity, and without an appropriation, the entire system is closed and cannot reopen until funding is restored. We do not believe it is appropriate or feasible to have some parts of the system open while others are closed to the public.”
However, that statement is less than truthful, since the Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the national park system. However, it’s the main roadway from the tourist areas of the North Carolina Smokey Mountains and the popular Tennessee destinations of Pigeon Forge, Sieverville, and Gatlinburg. Closing that would bring the ire out from tourists from all over the country.
O’Connell explained his reasoning for reversing his decision and reopening the inn, “The level of intimidation and coercion became such that we backed down. Then after sleeping on it, our own convictions took front and center and we decided to reopen,”
The park ranger’s superintendant did not return calls from the Washington Times for comment.