Government Shutdown Has Left National Parks Overrun With Garbage And Poop

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That's the message officials from the Cape Cod National Seashore are trying to convey to the public amid the partial federal government shutdown, in hopes of avoiding problems like trash pileup and discarded human waste that have plagued national sites in other parts of the country.

The national park service says Joshua Tree will remain accessible, but visitors will be entering at their own risk, as the service can't fully staff its properties.

But David Lamfrom, director of the California Desert and National Wildlife programs of the National Parks Conservation Association, told CNN that overwhelming amounts of poop isn't the only concern.

The shutdown has also left a stinking mess at Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California.

Unfortunately, Park officials have announced that the following facilities and areas inside Yosemite National Park are closed "due to impacts from human waste and public safety concerns" - Wawona Campground, Hodgdon Meadow Campground, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Crane Flat Snow Play Area, and Goat Meadow Snow Play Area, located just outside the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park.

But some are seizing on the shortage of park staffers to off-road illegally and otherwise damage the park, as well as relieving themselves in the open, a park statement said.

The National Archives is closed as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. Lauretig has been to the park at least a dozen times in the past 10 days, and while it is in "OK" condition, he says the longer the shutdown continues, "the more the park needs its real maintenance people in there to do their jobs". Garbage is overflowing in bins at Big Bend National Park in Texas, causing health hazards as well as attracting black bears. Trash collection was also suspended at the park but it has remained open.

Some visitors have strung Christmas lights in the twisting Joshua trees, many of which are hundreds of years old, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Rangers are of course very demoralized right now, because they want to be in the parks serving visitors and protecting them, but they are coming into this situation where they're already challenged". That includes packing up every single piece of trash you create and bringing them out of the park with you.

"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, " Snider said. "A nightmare scenario", he says.

He and other business owners have pitched in to empty trash, stock restrooms and haul trailers onto park grounds.

In Yellowstone National Park private tour companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers. "But we can handle it".