Human waste, rubbish overwhelm some U.S. national parks in shutdown

Cristina Cross
January 3, 2019

Also in California, Joshua Tree National Park will close all campgrounds at noon Wednesday, The San Bernardino Sun reported.

Yosemite National Park announced that it would also be closing several areas because of "human waste issues and a lack of staffing".

"There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I've seen in my four years living here", Snider said.

"Providing visitor services is only a portion of what park staff is there to do", he said. Yosemite Valley's lodgings, restaurants, ski area at Badger Pass and the park shuttle remain open.

Yosemite National Park is open and free because there are no rangers to collect entry fees.

Also closed was the Grant Tree Trail, a popular hiking spot, because the government shutdown halted maintenance and left the path dangerously slick from ice and snow, with at least one injury reported, the park service said.

"It's really a nightmare scenario, " Garder said. Among the closures are all nineteen Smithsonian museums in NY and Washington, DC, including the African American Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Air and Space Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the National Zoo.

Many national parks remain open but with skeleton staffs.

A trash can overflows as people site outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial by the Tidal Basin in Washington
JACQUELYN MARTIN APA trash can overflows as people site outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial by the Tidal Basin in Washington

This has been the daily routine for Lauretig, 57, the executive director of the non-profit Friends of Joshua Tree, and many others in the community for the last two weeks.

David MacDonald, president and chief executive of Friends of Acadia, an independent nonprofit that works closely with Acadia National Park officials, said in terms of visitor impact, the park has been "faring better" than places out West.

In Joshua Tree, dozens of volunteers have come together to try to maintain the park.

Officials say vault toilets on the site are reaching capacity.

If you feel the need to visit a park during the shutdown, there are responsible ways to do so.

Trash begins to accumulate along the National Mall near the Washington Monument due to a partial shutdown of the federal government in Washington, D.C., December 24, 2018. "Everyone loves the Park".

They had unleashed their dogs and let then run freely in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and were scattering bags of garbage along the roads, Mr Snider said. "You look at the Yosemite waterfalls, and prior to that, water bottles and trash bags pile up". With Congress at an impasse, about a quarter of the federal government employees - including park rangers - are starting 2019 out of work or working without a paycheck. Visitors are entering without paying, and with no staff on hand, bathrooms are not being cleaned and trash cans are overflowing. "Keys View Road is also closed, effective immediately", park officials said in a statement. "Once conditions go downhill, they will be hard to restore", writes Purdy. "But we can handle it".

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