Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

US National Parks Are a Mess Due to the Government Shutdown

US National Parks Are a Mess Due to the Government Shutdown

Human faeces, overflowing garbage and illegal off-road driving in fragile areas were beginning to overwhelm some of the iconic national parks in the U.S., where a partial government shutdown left areas open to visitors but few staff on duty. "There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules then I've seen in my four years living here".

Day twelve of the partial government shutdown has carried us into the new year.

Joshua Tree National Park is one of many examples of a park feeling the effects of the shutdown.

But David Lamfrom, director of the California Desert and National Wildlife programs of the National Parks Conservation Association, told CNN that overwhelming amounts of poop isn't the only concern.

Park rangers and other staffers are among the more than 380,000 federal employees furloughed during the shutdown that is in its 12th day.

Of the many people and institutions being hurt by the ongoing government shutdown, the National Park Service is taking a hard hit. "A nightmare scenario", he says. Officials have asked visitors to use the bathroom before going to the park and to hang on to their trash.

The makeshift toilet situation has forced two campgrounds to close due to the "health hazard" it creates, National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz told the Times.

A trash can overflows as people site outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. But the National Park Service issued a warning to visitors that staff will not be available to provide guidance or in case of emergency.

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Feltges himself had set up a portable toilet at his store to help the visitors still streaming in and out of the park.

"This is a 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", he said.

In most of the parks, services and facilities have been ceased, including their trash collection and restroom services.

For more information on US national parks partial closures, visit the National Park Service's Twitter account here.

You can come and visit, but please, leave no trace behind. "Keys View Road is also closed, effective immediately", park officials said in a statement.

And at Yosemite, visitors were allowing their dogs to run off-leash and leaving bags of trash along the roads, Snider said. Previous administrations have closed the parks during shutdowns, The Associated Press reported.

At some parks, private companies have jumped in to handle some the maintenance normally handled by federal employees. The contractors that operate park tours by snowmobile, buses and vans are grooming trails, hauling trash and replacing toilet paper at pit toilets and restrooms along their routes. Because in the Winter nearly all the roads within the Park are closed, can attractions most of the visitors like the Grand Canyon only with the help of Guides to visit. "Once conditions go downhill, they will be hard to restore", writes Purdy.

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