March 26, 2019

National parks brimming with trash, human feces as government shutdown continues

03 January 2019, 04:04 | Edward Lowe

National parks brimming with trash, human feces as government shutdown continues

As government shutdown continues human waste on Yosemite's roadsides prompt park closures

The National Park Service reports that it is trying to keep as many areas of Yosemite open as possible during the government shutdown, but more locations are closing due to growing issues with human waste and resource damage.

The tiny Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood is posted with a closed sign as part of the federal government shutdown, December 26, 2018.

Campgrounds at Joshua Tree National Park are set to close at noon Wednesday, park officials said, citing health and safety concerns over the park's vault toilets, which are near capacity.

They have been emptying overflowing bins and sweeping and stocking restrooms that remained open. He was spending his days standing outside his store, offering tips about the park in place of the rangers who normally would be present.

In Joshua Tree, dozens of volunteers have come together to try to maintain the park. He was reportedly helped by his friend Michael Bright and good Samaritans that helped carry him 1.7 miles down the trail until they encountered a park ranger.

Almost all roads inside Yellowstone are normally closed for winter, meaning most visitors at this time of the year access park attractions like Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone through guides.

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

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

"It's really a big deal for Joshua Tree", she said of the campground closings.

The shutdown has also left a stinking mess at Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California.

"In addition to human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem".

You can come and visit, but please, leave no trace behind.

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"It's a free-for-all", Dakota Snider, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, told the AP Monday. "There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules then I've seen in my four years living here".

They had unleashed their dogs and let then run freely in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and were scattering bags of garbage along the roads, Mr Snider said.

"You're looking at Yosemite Falls and in front of you is plastic bottles and trash bags, " he said.

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

The budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, John Garder, on Monday called that "a nightmare scenario" for human safety, wildlife and historic sites at national parks.

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.

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