Garbage, feces piling up as shutdown takes toll on national parks

The Capitol building in Washington on Jan 2 2019 the 12th day of the government shutdown

The Capitol building in Washington on Jan 2 2019 the 12th day of the government shutdown

At Joshua Tree in southern California, trash cans were spilling over and fights were breaking out among campers on the grounds, with no rangers on hand to adjudicate, according to Ethan Feltges, who runs the Coyote Corner gift shop outside the park.

Thanks to the government shutdown, some campsites at the park were also shut down due to "human waste issues", which is pretty much the same excuse that U.S. Congress is using.

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

Most national parks initially remained open with skeleton staffs and limited services - including no trash pickup and locked restrooms at some parks, reported The Huffington Post.

Check out the photo of the garbage heap at the Washington Monument.

As visitors spend time on public lands during the shutdown, trash and human waste has been piling up and parks advocates say they're concerned visitors could hurt the environment or put themselves at risk if they disregard rules the rangers would normally enforce.

"It's a free-for-all", Dakota Snider, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, said by telephone Monday, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park that are overwhelmed. "And there's a lot of businesses that actually need the park". Volunteers try to dispose of garbage in the Park and clean toilet facilities that are still open.

Snider said he saw the warning on the park's website that emergency services might be delayed due to the shutdown but went on a three-day camping trip anyway, telling Newsday "I was just excited to come when the park was going to be less busy".

Yager says the reason he has no problem cleaning up is because he has loved the national park since he was 13, when he dreamed of climbing El Capitan.

Most visitors were being respectful of the desert wilderness and park facilities, Joshua Tree's superintendent, David Smith, said in a statement.

During the last partial government shutdown in January 2018, there was also chaos and controversy. "And there are many companies that are of the national Park".

On Sunday, Yosemite National Park also closed their campgrounds due to "lack of restrooms" and "resulting impacts from human waste".

Overflowing toilets and illegal off-roading activities prompted the closure, the parks service said.

In California, tourists have been relieving themselves on the side of the roads because Yosemite's restrooms and visitor centers have been shuttered since December 22 when the shutdown began, the Los Angeles Times reported. There were also reports of visitors dumping garbage bags from their cars in Yosemite.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.