Shutdown restricting visits, cleaning at national parks


Federal agencies such as the National Archives, the US Commission of Fine Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities have been closed since the shutdown began on December 22, when President Trump refused to pass the federal budget.

Yosemite National Park announced that it would also be closing several areas because of "human waste issues and a lack of staffing".

Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado said they were closing restrooms and locking up trash bins in many locations.

Campers at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California's deserts were reporting squabbles as different families laid claims to sites, with no rangers on hand to adjudicate, according to local gift shop owner Ethan Feltges. A person illegally shot dead a pregnant elk at Zion National Park in Utah, which authorities say was a poacher taking advantage of the limited park security. It is unclear how long the shutdown will last and whether the National Park Service will opt to close some or all of the parks if the situation continues.

The Smithsonian Institution will close off its museums and the National Zoo on Wednesday because it has depleted its temporary funding.

The shutdown has also prevented the park service from making staff available to "provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response", the department said. Also, the main road in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks is blocked because of the waste of crowded containers is a threat to the animals and the traffic was building up on the icy roadway. Approximately 16,000 Park Service employees have been furloughed, and many attractions locally and nationally have been temporarily shuttered. And in fairness, most visitors to the national parks have been respectful. "We're concerned there'll be impacts to visitors' safety".

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"It's really a nightmare scenario", added Garder. But on Monday, feces and garbage were beginning to overwhelm Yosemite and other national parks.

Yager says the reason he has no problem cleaning up is because he has loved the national park since he was 13, when he dreamed of climbing El Capitan.

Every morning at 10 a.m., John Lauretig and dozens of volunteers get together just outside Joshua Tree National Park in California and get ready for a day that includes scrubbing toilets and collecting trash.

"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", Dakota Snider, who works at Yosemite, told the Associated Press.

Rattlesnake Canyon will close to reduce the number of potential search-and-rescue events for rangers already spread thin because of the shutdown, the park service said. Those guides are splitting the cost of grooming the trails used by their vehicles to keep their operations going, said Travis Watt, general manager of See Yellowstone Alpen Guides based in West Yellowstone, Montana.