US National Parks Are a Mess Due to the Government Shutdown

Saturday, 05 Jan, 2019

"This is no reflection on their efforts and the park is very fortunate to have a community that exhibits the kind of care and concern witnessed over the last week". Friends of Joshua Tree has also partnered up with local residents to organize drives to provide toilet paper for the park.

The only thing left to prevent Joshua Tree from being overrun by garbage is the diligent work of volunteers.

"I chose to clean up this one section, because that's what Americans will do", said Snake, a 64-year-old member of the indigenous Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin.

"It's sad. It's sad to see the government in dysfunction, that's the sad part to me, " said Mike Leubers. He was reportedly helped by his friend Michael Bright and good Samaritans that helped carry him 1.7 miles down the trail until they encountered a park ranger. Obviously missing are the friendly rangers who usually collect the entrance fees.

For more information on the park during the shutdown people might turn to the park's website, but those who update it aren't working either. According to Purdy, she and others have been collecting garbage and cleaning the bathrooms out of the simple goodness of their hearts and love for the nation's parks. Yesterday, I had my life threatened two times. This park has always felt like home.

"It's just going to take time".

The partial shutdown, which has cut off many government services, entered its 12th day on Wednesday with no end in sight.

For almost two weeks, the business of government in the partially lame. National parks across the United States are seeing (and smelling) the results. The park has stayed open since the shutdown began, making do with fewer resources, like restrooms. "These artifacts are one of a kind, and once removed they will never come back".

Campsites at Yosemite National Park, one of the most remarkable and popular in America, have been forced to close due to human effluence after the paralysis led to the closure of nearby public toilets.

"It is not sustainable to have volunteers keep doing this", Purdy, who took out three pick-up-truck loads of trash from a campground Monday, said. With restrooms shuttered, visitors had been relieving themselves off of Wawona Road, which is also California Highway 41, posing a health risk for other visitors.

Under the park service's shutdown plan, authorities have to close any area where rubbish or other problems become threats to health and safety or to wildlife, spokesman Jeremy Barnum said. Hikers at nearby Difficult Run, just outside the national park border, ignored a yellow police line that closed a trail.

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

This time of year, there is limited access in and around Saratoga National Historical Park anyway but with the partial government shutdown, even less so.