Shutdown restricting visits, cleaning at national parks

Mindy Sparks
January 3, 2019

Reynolds said one thing in particular that people who walk along the trails and beaches should be mindful of is taking pet waste along with them after heading out of the park.

All visitors are being asked to "pack in and pack out" all trash on federal lands during the shutdown, including at areas like the Stanislaus National Forest, because custodial services are very limited.

"The local community has come together really well, even people visiting from out of town have chose to join after seeing our efforts on social media". "It's really a nightmare scenario". All park visitor centers are also closed.

The restrooms and visitor centers at the park in California have been closed since December 22, when the partial government shutdown began, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Park Superintendent David Smith thanked volunteers who have helped maintain the park as best they could during the shutdown. Indeed, Joshua Tree is reportedly closing all campsites starting today.

"It's so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I've seen in my four years living here, " Snider said.

With a quarter of the federal government employee workforce beginning 2019 out of work or working without a paycheck, agencies from the National Park Service to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Smithsonian museums are feeling the pinch.

Wawona Campground, Hodgdon Meadow Campground, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Crane Flat Snow Play Area and Goat Meadow Snow Play Area, located just outside the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park, have been closed due to impacts from human waste and public safety concerns, according to the park service.

The federal government shutdown began December 22 in a dispute between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for Trump's proposed wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, USA Today reported.

The park has experienced vandalism to buildings, while illegal camping and off-roading have damaged the park habitat, National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said.

"It's a free-for-all, " Dakota Snider, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, said by telephone, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park that are overwhelmed.

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.

The National Archives is closed as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week.

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. 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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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