In thinking about the recent shutdown of the national parks, the most disappointing thing to me was that Washington's failure to compromise resulted in the closure of these uniquely special places causing people around the world to be needlessly turned away.
The second disappointing thing was the disturbing stories of national park rangers acting angrily and un-ranger-like during the shutdown in parks like Acadia National Park, Washington, D.C., and especially in Yellowstone, where U.S. and foreign visitors experienced this unusually aggressive behavior. For otherwise dedicated national park employees to resort to meanness suggests an awful lot of pressure from the organizational higher-ups who should now be held accountable.
Having personally visited 33 national parks, I've never met a ranger who wasn't helpful, courteous and knowledgeable or one who didn't create a good memory for me and my family. It's not unreasonable to conclude that an upper-echelon direction caused outstanding people to act differently.
I'm hoping that civility from the top will be restored and visitors from around the world can enjoy the magic of our parks and that dedicated park rangers who make our parks "America's Best Idea," as Ken Burns put it, can continue to make us proud.