Trash, toilet odor build at national parks amid government shutdown

Trash, toilet odor build at national parks amid government shutdown

Human faeces, overflowing garbage and illegal off-road driving in fragile areas were beginning to overwhelm some of the iconic national parks in the United States, where a partial government shutdown left areas open to visitors but few staff on duty.

"We fear that nature can seriously damage and possibly also historical and other attractions", says John Garder of the non-governmental National Park Conservation Association.

Due to this, the updated closure list includes Wawona Campground, Hodgen Meadow Campground, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Crane Flat Snow Play Area and Goat Meadow Snow Play Area.

Other national parks suffering because of the shutdown are Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, which had to close their restrooms and trash bins due to overflowing.

Meanwhile, campers at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California were reporting quarrels as different families laid claims to sites, with no rangers on hand to adjudicate, said Ethan Feltges, who operates the Coyote Corner gift shop outside Joshua Tree, told The Associated Press. If there is any sign of brands taking stands in the name of supporting our national parks during a time of duress, now would be the time to act as this shutdown shows no sign of ending anytime soon. Other visitors and a park ranger reportedly helped 26-year-old Joshua Snider after he broke his leg while hiking in Big Bend National Park in Texas on Christmas Eve.

Unlike some previous government shutdowns, when national parks closed entirely, gates have remained opened under the Trump administration, leaving parks severely understaffed.


The Los Angeles Times reports the National Parks Service is warning of a threat to health at Yosemite National Park. A skeleton crew of volunteers, tribal members and local businesses are trying to collect trash in the park and keep up with whatever maintenance they can. "A nightmare scenario", he says. The General's Highway, which connects the park and leads to its famous giant Sequoia trees has become icy and unsafe, leading to 3-hour-long backups along the route.

A check point will be set up at the park's south entrance from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m. for those with reservations for lodging or camping within the park. Indeed, Joshua Tree is reportedly closing all campsites starting today.

"People are walking off trails, bringing their dogs", he said.

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.

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

"This is not really our job", says Travis Watt of lake Yellowstone Alpen Guides, "the Park authority usually does a good Job, and we hate to see the employees without a job".

Related Articles