National parks in the US bear the brunt of government shutdown | GBRI

Yellowstone National Park

Most iconic national parks in the US are facing a grim situation – garbage buildup, illegal off-roading, human feces and other such nightmarish scenarios. The partial government shutdown has led to the parks being largely unsupervised as there is very little staff on duty.

“It’s a free-for-all. 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, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, said by telephone Monday, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park that are overwhelmed.

Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs, said John Garder, senior budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association.

“We’re afraid that we’re going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artifacts,” Garder said. “We’re concerned there’ll be impacts to visitors’ safety.”

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