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Park Police: It's now 'against the law' to use Mt. Vernon hiking trail

US President Barack Obama speaks on the government shutdown and the budget and debt ceiling debates in Congress during a visit to M. Luis Construction, a construction company, in Rockville, Maryland, October 3, 2013, on the third day of the government shutdown. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Sorry, Mrs. Obama.  Outdoor exercise has taken a backseat to the government shutdown.

(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

CNSNews reports:

The partial government shutdown has closed national parks around the country, including the popular Mt. Vernon trail that runs from Rosslyn, Va., to George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate.

United States Park Police have barricaded the parking lots that access the trail, but people are still using it.

When asked whether it’s breaking the law to use the trail at this time, a United States Park Police spokesman confirmed that fact.

“Yes, it is against the law. However, we are concentrating our efforts to the restriction of vehicles in the parking areas along George Washington Parkway,” Sgt. Paul Brooks, public information officer with USPP, told

Dave has more on the policing of those public parking lots here.

Exit question: In the test of what's essential vs. non-essential, who decided that park police officers assigned to guard otherwise unguarded public places were "essential" workers during a government shutdown?

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