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: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-shutdown-national-parks-transformed-into-wild-west–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.
He and Coyote Corner co-owner Christine Pfranger rented portable bathrooms for the month for visitors, but said they were also almost at capacity.
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. (http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/article_d9cf37c0-0d2a-11e9-9f7c-e7e542e5ea9f.html)
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?