Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

National Parks Getting Trashed During Government Shutdown

National Parks Getting Trashed During Government Shutdown

As the government shutdown entered its 13th day, key Democrats accused the Trump administration of ramping up the danger and confusion at national parks by closing some while allowing majority to stay open.

Joshua Tree, which covers more than 792,000 acres of national park from Palm Springs north to the town of Joshua Tree, will remain open during the shutdown.

"We're afraid that we're going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artifacts, " Garder said.

In the southern Sierra Nevada in Central California, some areas of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks were closed Monday evening.

Visitors are misbehaving now that park rangers are not on the job, trash is not being picked up, roads are not being cleared of snow, sites in campgrounds are not being assigned and restrooms are locked.

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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. Park officials say without enough supervision, some visitors are off-roading illegally and otherwise damaging the park.

"I think it's really up to private citizens at this point to clean up", said Lara Christy, who is volunteering to clean up litter.

"The whole community has come together", Feltges said.

"Park staff are beginning to close restroom facilities and trash receptacles at many park locations due to human waste issues, wildlife concerns and overall public health", the park said in a statement.

The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity.

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Unlike previous shutdowns, when parks were also closed, national parks remained open this time, though most park employees have been on furlough.

And aside from being gross, turning national parks into cesspits is also risky. The Smithsonian relied on funds from previous years to stay open through the first of the year, but planned to close its doors on January 2 if the government shutdown continued. "Absolutely ridiculous." He then informed the Times of breakdowns in the campground reservation system, illegal camping practices and visitors stringing Christmas lights from delicate Joshua trees that they are supposed to leave untouched.

For almost two weeks, the business of government in the U.S.is partially lame.

And for those planning a visit there, Lost Horse Mine Road and Rattlesnake Canyon are also closed effective immediately.

"It's not the first time that it's happened, so I kind of know how it goes, but it's a bummer, right?" said Mary Durant of Washington, who took her two children to the park but didn't get a chance to show them the falls. If necessary, could keep the tour provider the entire winter season. "But it's something we can handle".

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