Monday, 17 June, 2019

Garbage, feces take toll on national parks amid shutdown

Human waste, rubbish overwhelm some US national parks in shutdown Overflowing garbage, feces on roads prompt Yosemite National Park officials to close some campgrounds
Sandra Phillips | 03 January, 2019, 06:27

This photo shows a road lined with trash in yosemite National Park.

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. Visitors are entering without paying, and with no staff on hand, bathrooms are not being cleaned and trash cans are overflowing.

Grand Canyon National Park, for example, is open because after the last such federal shutdown the state of Arizona appropriated some revenues so that services such as shuttles and restrooms can remain open.

The partial government shutdown has been really crappy for some of the nation's most iconic parks. However, the number of visitors has swelled, "no one is at the gate", and "no one is collecting a fee".

"Providing visitor services is only a portion of what park staff is there to do", he said. Less civic-minded folks are illegally off-roading, tromping though delicate natural areas that are off-limits, and leaving behind mountains of garbage that can endanger wildlife.

It added, "Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor's sole risk".

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

California's Joshua Tree National Park on Wednesday becomes the latest casualty of the federal government's partial shutdown, with campgrounds closing due to health and safety concerns over near-capacity pit toilets.

Staff shortages have created a sense of "lawlessness" in the parks, Brengel said.

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Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada was closing some campgrounds and some popular areas like Mariposa Grove.

The Yosemite national Park visitors ' garbage sacks out of the auto.

"Everyone loves the park".

"If there wasn't a shutdown, I probably would've been able to get out in a more efficient way", Snider told the paper.

Park Superintendent David Smith thanked volunteers who have helped maintain the park as best they could during the shutdown. Farther south in California, conditions at Joshua Tree National Park and its delicate desert ecosystems are described as "deteriorating".

Yosemite National Park, too, has closed some of its campgrounds and public areas after being inundated with garbage and human poop.

"I want to extend a honest thanks to local businesses, volunteer groups and tribal members who have done their best to assist in picking up litter and helping maintain campgrounds", Smith said in a statement Monday.

The shutdown not only hurts the parks but also surrounding communities that rely on an estimated $18 million a day from tourism, said Kristen Brengel, vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association.

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