The dreaded budget sequester has apparently struck North Dakota again. Consider this posting on the National Park Service's web site:
"Painted Canyon Visitor Center is closed for the winter and will remain closed until further notice due to across the board budget cuts."
That means visitors to the popular scenic viewpoint located east of Medora won't be able to access the visitors center to use the bathroom or buy a snack. But the main attraction at the Painted Canyon Overlook, the fabulous view of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, obviously isn't going anywhere. You can't, after all, close the view (but don't give Congress any ideas).
The overlook attracted some 290,000 visitors last year, as travelers stopped to gaze at the wonder of the Badlands from the site, which offers a spectacular vantage point to view part of the park. Of those visitors, 71,000 people actually went inside the small visitor's center during the seven months the building is open.
Park spokeswoman Eileen Andes said the park budget was cut by 5 percent because of the sequestration that triggered automatic budget cuts, which were in addition to budget cuts in the past three years. That means some facilities won't be staffed this year, leading to the closure of the overlook's visitors center.
There seems to be no end to the budget sequester silliness. White House tours have stopped. The Easter Egg hunt at the White House was in danger. Now the Painted Canyon Overlook visitor's center is closed until further notice. Whatever. Theodore Roosevelt National Park will be just as beautiful without using the bathroom or buying a T-shirt at the visitors center. Take that, Washington.