US National Parks Are a Mess Due to the Government Shutdown

As government shutdown continues human waste on Yosemite's roadsides prompt park closures

As government shutdown continues human waste on Yosemite's roadsides prompt park closures

As the partial government shutdown nears its third week, California's national parks have descended into scenes of decadent misuse, with reports of overflowing garbage, human waste, environmental damage, and even a prom dress being spotted at sites.

Mountains of garbage and human waste are challenging efforts to keep US national parks open during a partial shutdown of the federal government, National Parks Traveler reported. During the government shutdown, national parks are working to remain as open and accessible to the American people as possible, say park officials.

Officials say vault toilets on the site are reaching capacity.

Citing public safety, Yosemite has closed two campgrounds because of human waste polluting the areas while bathrooms are closed and trash pickup is unavailable.

If you visit one of the many parks impacted by the federal shutdown, consider taking your trash with you and properly disposing it at another location.

Handwritten signs have also been posted asking visitors not to litter, as there are now no trash services. And in fairness, most visitors to the national parks have been respectful.

Towns like these across the US are financially dependent on businesses, from equipment rental services to, of course, locally-owned hotels and restaurants, most of which largely cater to national park visitors. We encourage visitors in the area to explore the excellent food, shops, and recreational opportunities available nearby. It's the same for many parks around the country.

Other parks, such as Arches and Canyonlands in Utah have had to close simply because there's no money to pay for road plowing operations amidst recent heavy snowfall.

"I think they actually provide better rolls than the government", Krafton said.




Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the lack of staff.

But some are seizing on the shortage of park staff to off-road illegally and otherwise damage the park, as well as relieving themselves in the open, a park statement said.

Arches National Park officials said on December 22, the day the shutdown began, that some parts of the park would remain accessible; however, access may change without notice.

Numerous other parks across the United States also are partly or fully closed, reported National Parks Traveler, which has compiled a list of shutdowns.

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.

During the last partial government shutdown in January 2018, there was also chaos and controversy.

"The whole community has come together, " Feltges said, also by phone.

"It's really a big deal for Joshua Tree", she said of the campground closings.

"We're just going to drive around because there's nothing else to do", he said.

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