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giftedviz.com January 19, 2019


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

03 January 2019, 06:26 | Ross Houston

Human waste, rubbish overwhelm some US national parks in shutdown

Shutdown National Parks

Although the park remains open, the waste and other public safety concerns have led to closure of Wawona Campground, Hodgdon Meadow Campground, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, and the Crane Flat and Goat Meadow snow play areas.

"It's a free-for-all", 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. All park visitor centers are also closed.

"The Generals Highway is closed at Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park".

All visitors are being asked to "pack in and pack out" all trash on federal lands during the shutdown, including at areas like the Stanislaus National Forest, because custodial services are very limited. "Regardless of what happens in Washington, the Grand Canyon will not close on our watch", said Governor Doug Ducey in a press statement released a few days before the shutdown began. The Washington Post notes that the Trump administration initially kept most of the parks open with skeleton crews to enforce some of the rules. According to Purdy, she and others have been collecting garbage and cleaning the bathrooms out of the simple goodness of their hearts and love for the nation's parks. Park officials say with restrooms overflowing, some visitors were relieving themselves along roadsides.

The partial government shutdown entered its 12th day Wednesday.

"This is a reflection on their efforts and the park is very fortunate to have a community that exhibits the kind of care and concern witnessed over the last week", he said.

"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 Los Angeles Times.

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Overflowing toilets and illegal off-roading activities prompted the closure, the parks service said.

"People are walking off trails, bringing their dogs", David Lamfrom, director of the California Desert and National Wildlife Programs of the National Parks Conservation Association tells CNN.

"You're looking at Yosemite Falls and in front of you is plastic bottles and trash bags, " he said.

Rattlesnake Canyon will close to reduce the number of potential search-and-rescue events for rangers already spread thin because of the shutdown, the park service said.

The tour companies can likely keep this system going through the entire winter season if they need to, Watt said.

"This is not really our job", says Travis Watt of lake Yellowstone Alpen Guides, "the Park authority usually does a good Job, and we hate to see the employees without a job".



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