National parks brimming with trash, human feces as government shutdown continues

A road lined with trash in Yosemite National Park in California

With few staff on duty in several national parks in the West due to the current government shutdown, reports of overflowing trash, human waste, illegal off-roading and damage to normally restricted areas have surfaced, write Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker for the Associated Press.

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) issued advice to British travellers to check with the US National Park Service and the parks themselves before travelling, adding that State Parks are not affected. "There is more garbage, feces, and usually miss, as I've seen in the four years that I live here", says Dakota Snider, the valley works in Yosemite.

Trash begins to accumulate along the National Mall near the Washington Monument due to a partial shutdown of the federal government.

At Joshua Tree National Park in California, where all campgrounds were closed yesterday, no one has been keeping track of the damage the park has sustained since December 22 when the shutdown began.

"We fear that nature can seriously damage and possibly also historical and other attractions", says John Garder of the non-governmental National Park Conservation Association.

"We're concerned there'll be impacts to visitors' safety".

The closure was made for public safety reasons as plowing services at the parks are unable to be provided due to the ongoing partial government shutdown, which is approaching its second full week, according to statements from park officials on Twitter.

The Trump administration has permitted the parks to remain open despite the staff furloughs.

"Everyone loves the park".

Yosemite National Park had to close two campgrounds and the popular Mariposa Grove of redwoods because of a buildup of human waste along the side of road, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Some of the roads at Yosemite National Park have been reported to be virtual toilets with restrooms locked and sanitation services nonexistent.

To reduce the burden, Yosemite National Park on January 2 started limiting visitor access to the park at the most popular entry point from the south along Highway 41.

Feltges and other business owners around Joshua Tree stepped into the gap as much as possible.

Back at Joshua Tree, Sabrina Krafton, 50, who traveled to the park from London for some New Year's climbing, said she appreciates the hard work by volunteers who are collecting litter and donating toilet paper. "The local community has come together really well, even people visiting from out of town have made a decision to join after seeing our efforts on social media". A skeleton crew of volunteers, tribal members and local businesses are trying to collect trash in the park and keep up with whatever maintenance they can.

"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 LA Times".

There's a 14-tonne "faecal time bomb" on Mount Everest. "I would rather they close than be damaged", said Joe De Luca, a sales associate at Nomad Ventures in the town of Joshua Tree.

Park rangers were screening vehicles at the South Entrance, allowing only visitors with reservations for lodging or camping inside the park.

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