Tourist Tuesday on a Wednesday, 1/2/19 – Big Sur is a health hazard

National Parks during the government shutdown – several examples from CA:

Joshua Tree National Park: 

“The government shutdown has left America’s national parks largely unsupervised. No one is at the gate. No one is collecting a fee. The visitor centers are closed. There are some law enforcement and emergency personnel on site, but certainly nothing as standard as a park ranger who can answer a question.

People are streaming into the parks, enjoying the free access, but they’re finding trash cans overflowing and restrooms locked. Vault toilets are not serviced, and there’s hardly a flush toilet to be found anywhere. If nature calls — well, the woods are over that way.”

Read more of this article here:–heavily-populated-and-barely-supervised/2019/01/01/db51564e-0d3b-11e9-84fc-d58c33d6c8c7_story.html

Joshua Tree National Park campgrounds will close at 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 2 “to take…action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity,” according to a National Park Service news release.

During the government shutdown, much of the onus of park upkeep has been left in the hands of volunteers. 

“In addition human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem,” reads the release.”Additional closures include Lost Horse Mine Road due to illegal activity and Rattlesnake Canyon in order to reduce the number of search and rescue events for rangers already spread thin due to the government shutdown.”

Joshua Tree business people and volunteers have tried to take over for the furloughed rangers and maintenance staff as best they can.

About 35 people pitched in Saturday during a volunteer event, while businesses in downtown Joshua Tree tried to help incoming visitors looking for information.

Volunteers including retired park ranger Caryn Davidson, Stone Adventures co-owner Annie Semmelroth and Coyote Corner co-owner Ethan Feltges manned a makeshift information booth outside Coyote Corner through the weekend.

One of their main concerns by Saturday afternoon was where to put all the trash generated by the thousands of visitors.

“Our dumpsters are full,” Feltges said.

It pointed out a larger problem with the volunteer effort. “It’s not sustainable for the long haul, and the cash isn’t going to be here,” said Seth Zaharias, co-owner of Cliffhanger Guides.

He estimated he and other business owners had paid several thousands of dollars over the past week to stock bathrooms with toilet paper, buy cleaning supplies and rent portable bathrooms.

Park Superintendent David Smith praised the efforts of locals who have been working to help park visitors. (

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite visitors turn roads into toilets as shutdown crises mount at national parks

Mountains of garbage and human waste are challenging efforts to keep U.S. national parks open during a partial shutdown of the federal government, National Parks Traveler reported.

In California, Yosemite National Park officials have closed the Wawona and Hodgson Meadows campgrounds, along with the Mariposa Grove of redwoods, after finding human feces and urinebeside Wawona Road, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“With restrooms closed, some visitors are opting to deposit their waste in natural areas adjacent to high traffic areas, which creates a health hazard for other visitors,” National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz told the publication in an email.

“It’s a free-for-all,” said Dakota Snider, 24, a Yosemite Valley resident, reported The Associated Press. “It’s so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rulesthan I’ve seen in my four years living here.”


Sequoia or Kings Canyon National park

The partial federal government shutdown, now into its 11th day, has forced furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal government employees. This has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds and otherwise keep parks running.

The lack of staff and unsanitary conditions have led to the closures of several areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The closures went into effect at 6 p.m. on Monday, according to Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks public affairs officer.

Closer to home is Pinnacles National Park

“Park rangers will close the eastern park entrance… due to impacts from human waste and increased vehicle congestion,” the press release says.

All of the above listed California National Parks are now closed (or partially closed) due to trash and human waste, which are health hazards. Sound familiar? Big Sur has become a health hazard. Just ask anyone who lives or camps here. Trash, feces and toilet paper everywhere. Big Sur, one of the most beautiful and healing places on the planet is now a health hazard. How did we let it go this far?





13 thoughts on “Tourist Tuesday on a Wednesday, 1/2/19 – Big Sur is a health hazard

  1. It’s a shame that public access leads to such disgraceful conduct. Controlled boundaries are essential to protect anything valuable.

  2. The irony of this situation is as as deep as the feces that are being left behind. Uncontrolled and wide open access by a thankless and impolite society is clearly not sustainable. On a local level nor a national level. The immediate answer to get a fix started lays in the hands of a few vacationing politicians that refuse to see or acknowledge how us common folk are affected by this behavior.

  3. It is unfortunate, but many people do not seem to respect Mother Nature. Maybe the key to the education of our species is to start young getting city kids into nature in a respectful way… Do not forward, for intended, named recipient above, only.

  4. Big Sur is like a National Park under a government shutdown everyday. Maybe we need to claim that the increase in the number of tourists and some of their poor behavior has caused a “public health issue” in Big Sur? We all know and see people using every pullout along the highway as a bathroom for years now. Maybe this would get our government officials to have to act to protect Big Sur from the fact that we have long passed our carrying capacity.

  5. what a crazy coincident… found this earlier – was gonna send via email during my next “free cpu time” (have to limit my usage for awhile – think I ODed on XMAS online comparison shopping 😵😏) Anyways – thought it might be something of interest…maybe some useful ideas/contacts…sounds like it could be!
    Alt National Park Service – find them on Facebook – post was 23 hours ago so should be near top….if you can’t find it, it’s PUBLIC on my FB page.
    Can’t seem to link from FB but their latest post is from one of the 12 rangers working Yosemite… you gotta read it!

  6. Who could ever have imagined that people visiting our parks could behave like such animals… no, that’s insulting animals really. There are no words for this sort of behavior. I just don’t get it. Why go to places where the experience should be awe and wonder… just to trash the place. I consider our politicians responsible, not only for the shutdown, but because our current administration seems to foster this sort of ugly lawlessness.

  7. Denise, I have been reading all of these for days now. I am not sure I have read this exact one, and couldn’t find it on FB, so …will see if I can find it on your page. Do not forward, for intended, named recipient above, only.

  8. Just to let you know that it’s not horrible everywhere, general vehicle access to Crater Lake N. P. has been closed even tho’ one access is being plowed for emergency access. Visitors are welcome to walk into the park, but it’s five miles to the main visitor center and another three to view the lake itself – all uphill and in the snow.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.