National parks face overflowing trash, toilets in second week of shutdown

Gwen Vasquez
January 3, 2019

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Hetch Hetchy, Wawona and Hodgdon Meadow Campgrounds, and all snow play areas were also closed.

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

Other parks have also said they will have to close areas or limit access to ensure visitor safety. Yosemite Valley's lodgings, restaurants, ski area at Badger Pass and the park shuttle remain open. For a number of national parks, this is becoming a Problem.

As the Post reports, it's about to get worse for Washington residents and visitors: Starting on Wednesday, the Smithsonian Institution has no choice but to close all of its museums and the National Zoo due to lack of funding. "A nightmare scenario", he says.

A closed restroom at National Mall and Memorial Parks area in Washington D.C., December 30, 2018.

Unlike some previous government shutdowns, in which national parks closed entirely, gates have remained opened under the Trump administration, though parks are severely understaffed.

"At the superintendent's discretion, parks may close grounds/areas with sensitive natural, cultural, historic, or archaeological resources vulnerable to destruction, looting, or other damage that can not be adequately protected by the excepted law enforcement staff that remain on duty, " Barnum said.

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.

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"With restrooms closed, some visitors are opting to deposit their waste in natural areas adjacent to high traffic areas, which creates a health hazard for other visitors", National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz told the publication in an email.

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

The NPS also explained that the government shutdown prevented it from making staff available to "provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response". "And there's a lot of businesses that actually need the park".

"We're deeply concerned about the threat to park resources and to visitor safety with this park closure situation", Garder said in a phone interview Monday.

"People are walking off trails, bringing their dogs", he said.

As the government shutdown persists, nature lovers are coping with overflowing toilets and garbage cans, and improvised open-air bathrooms. But still, they can't keep going forever.

"This is not really our job", says Travis Watt of lake Yellowstone Alpen Guides, "the Park authority usually does a good Job, and we hate to see the employees without a job". "But it's something we can handle".

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