Big Sharks are Playing Chicken with Us Little Minnows

A view of the Gulf from the boardwalk at Padre Island National Seashore.
A view of the Gulf from the boardwalk at Padre Island National Seashore.
The turquoise waters sparkle under the azure sky at Padre Island National Seashore.

What do fish and chicken have in common? Both tend to flee when something is coming after them.

Well, the big sharks in Washington are clamping down on the little bait fish here in the Coastal Bend.

Right now our little slice of paradise is closed by those big fish playing games of chicken with us little minnows. Well, it is a downright shame because what was our little salty sliver of sea  is not really ours after all. All of this nonsense is for the birds or maybe seagulls!

 According to,” The government shutdown is already affecting the coastal bend. At midnight, the Padre Island National Seashore Park closed. Tuesday morning employees were placed on furlough.

Boarded up visitor centers and offices, flashing red lights and cones blocking traffic are just a few signs that the park is closed. Not just to the public but for dozens of workers too.

About 40 workers were furloughed and about 14 park rangers are allowed to stay.

William Botts is the education coordinator and one of the rangers who doesn’t know when he’ll be able to go back to work.

“Under the guidelines of the government, when the appropriations are cut off, we go to a furlough status,” Botts said.

The closure comes as a result of the government shutdown and the capitol’s inability to reach an agreement with the budget.

Now, more than 70 miles of beach and the Bird Island Basin are closed. Botts says this is a bummer for fishermen who can no longer launch their boats from that area.

“Technically, they can’t even fish in park waters, we’ll have rangers on patrol to make sure that people know the waters as well as the land that’s under are jurisdiction is closed,” he added.

A few park rangers were on site closing down the visitor areas. Botts says the closure will force them to cancel field trips to the national park.

“Some kids were scheduled to come out and I’m trying now, in my last hours here, to notify the schools to keep in touch to try to reschedule,” he said.

Botts says he hopes a solution to the shutdown is reached sooner rather than later.

“We want to get back to work all of us, we take pride in what we do and I know a lot of people love this place,” he said.

Park rangers say the national waters are marked for boaters and fisherman because certain activities are allowed in state waters but not always on federal properties.

This afternoon, Republican leaders told the Associated Press that the GOP-controlled House of Representatives intends to pass legislation to reopen portions of the government, including national parks and processing of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”


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