US National Parks Are a Mess Due to the Government Shutdown

Human waste, rubbish overwhelm some US national parks in shutdown

The partial government shutdown has been really crappy for some of the nation's most iconic parks.

Other parks have also said they will have to close areas or limit access to ensure visitor safety.

There's been at least one reported incident of an injury in a national park 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", John Garder, senior budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, tells the AP. People were also spotted driving snowmobiles dangerously close to the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park. Volunteers try to dispose of garbage in the Park and clean toilet facilities that are still open.

At Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, several areas have been closed because of lack of staff and unsanitary conditions.

Handwritten signs urged visitors: "Pack out your trash".

As President Donald Trump's government shutdown continues, one of his federal agencies is warning that he is creating a "health hazard" due to the governmental closure. Memorial by the Tidal Basin, in Washington.

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The dozens of open-air national parks are remaining open during the government shutdown but with minimal staff to carry out basic operations, park rangers to provide safety information, and even limited emergency services like plowing roads and search and rescue in some cases.

Outside his Coyote Corner gift shop, Mr Feltges had set up a portable toilet for the visitors still streaming in and out of the park. He was spending his days standing outside his store, offering tips about the park in place of the rangers who normally would be present.

"I love the park", he tells TIME. "A lot of these people are returnees and they're more than happy to give back to this park". And in fairness, most visitors to the national parks have been respectful. Joshua Tree said it would begin closing some campgrounds for all but day use. Only people with reservations for lodging or camping inside the park will be allowed entrance during peak visitation hours between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., park officials announced Wednesday.

On the Yosemite Twitter account, officials said Sunday a "lack of the restrooms and resulting impacts from human waste" forced campgrounds to close.

At the Washington Monument, there are overflowing garbage cans the National Parks Service cannot empty.

"I'd much rather be at home, walking my dog enjoying a high heat desert day, but I understand these kind of things happen", he says.

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