Near-capacity toilets force Joshua Tree campgrounds to close amid government shutdown

Human waste, rubbish overwhelm some US national parks in shutdown

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

It is likely these closures will remain in effect for the duration of the government shutdown. "Without the usual winter minimal sanding done by park staff, the Grant Tree Trail had become slick, causing many visitors to fall and at least one injury", according to the Fresno Bee.

Park officials announced today that there will now be limited access to the park along the Highway 41 corridor from the South Entrance to the Badger Pass Road during the hours of highest visitation due to continuing issues with human waste and resource damage.

Handwritten signs have also been posted asking visitors not to litter, as there are now no trash services.

As Ralph Snake walked across Washington's National Mall on Wednesday (Jan 2), he stopped every few feet to pick up some of the litter that had accumulated on the once-tidy expanse of grass since a budget showdown partially closed the federal government almost two weeks ago. "Visitor centers and the Yosemite Museum are closed". "A lot of these people are returnees and they're more than happy to give back to this park".

"I went around the barricades but didn't know whether or not I could get past it, so I stopped and got out of the auto and looked at the sign that said the gates were closed", she said.

"At the superintendent's discretion, parks may close grounds/areas with sensitive natural, cultural, historic, or archaeological resources vulnerable to destruction, looting, or other damage that can not be adequately protected by the excepted law enforcement staff that remain on duty", Barnum said. It has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds to keep parks running smoothly, the Visalia Times Delta reported.

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In Joshua Tree, dozens of volunteers have come together to try to maintain the park.

Of the many people and institutions being hurt by the ongoing government shutdown, the National Park Service is taking a hard hit.

"It's really a big deal for Joshua Tree", she said of the campground closings.

Garder said the NPCA is monitoring the situation and seeing trends that visitors in the parks are disregarding rules about keeping dogs on leashes, prohibitions on drones and restrictions on where to camp, all of which can harm or disrupt the natural environment or wildlife in the area.

Laretig admits there are plenty of things he'd rather do than clean up the national park, but he says it's worth the effort. "You're just going to have to wait", said Bynes. The Smithsonian relied on funds from previous years to stay open through the first of the year, but planned to close its doors on January 2 if the government shutdown continued.

For almost two weeks, the business of government in the U.S.is partially lame.

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