A group of local residents will rally Sunday against the closure of Yellowstone National Park, the partial shutdown of federal government services and the overall lack of cooperation in Washington, D.C.
They will meet at 3 p.m. the park’s East Gate, and are calling for Yellowstone to be re-opened under the protection of the state of Wyoming, according to group member Eva Linton.
The group has also started a Facebook page, Protest for Yellowstone National Park. On the page, Linton stresses that the rally must be orderly and peaceful.
“We ask that this event be family friendly,” she wrote. “If you wish to try to enter the park please do so at your own risk. The last thing we want is anyone facing jail time. There is a chance there you will meet armed park rangers. PLEASE do not confront them. We will NOT support any anti-government actions.”
National Park Service staffers have been arresting and citing some people who enter closed national parks.
Some people commenting on the local groups’s Facebook page said they have been laid off because of a slowdown in local business since the park closed on Oct. 1. Rick Satterthwaite, who is helping to organize the protest, said the goal is to send a message to Washington, D.C.
“Our protest is in response to the absurdity of the actions of our leadership in Washington and their inability to perform their job for the American people, specifically regarding the unnecessary shutdown of our national parks that are harming our communities and the economy of our hometowns,” Satterthwaite said.
He said the shutdown was especially painful after local businesses chipped in for plowing this spring to open access to YNP. Now, they are losing “untold hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said, during the “normally very busy fall season in Yellowstone.”
Satterthwaite said the group doesn’t just want Yellowstone reopened. It wants the political leaders to “sit down together and negotiate together and act in a way that shows accountability and honors the voice of the American people.”
Gov. Matt Mead and his wife are invited, as are Park County state Reps. Sam Krone, David Blevins and Dave Northrup, state Sen. Hank Coe and the mayors of Powell and Cody, Linton said.