Header Ads

Grim photos reveal how garbage and feces are 'overwhelming' national parks amid the government shutdown as Trump finally invites congressional leaders to the White House to end the impasse

Human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other damaging behavior in fragile areas are beginning to overwhelm some of the West's iconic national parks, as a partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty.
'It's a free-for-all,' Dakota Snider, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley in California, said on Monday, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park that are overwhelmed.
'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.
The partial federal government shutdown, now into its eleventh day, has forced furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal government employees. 
This has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds and otherwise keep parks running.
Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs, John Garder, senior budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, said.
'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. IIt's really a nightmare scenario.'
Human feces and overflowing garbage were beginning to overwhelm some of the West's iconic national parks, as a partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty. This photo taken on December 31 and provided by Dakota Snider shows a road lined with trash in Yosemite National Park, California
Human feces and overflowing garbage were beginning to overwhelm some of the West's iconic national parks, as a partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty. This photo taken on December 31 and provided by Dakota Snider shows a road lined with trash in Yosemite National Park, California
President Donald Trump has finally invited Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to the White House for their first in-person meeting since the partial shutdown began on December 22. 
But the planned Wednesday meeting won't be a straight-up negotiating session. 
Senior Homeland Homeland Security officials would provide a briefing on the border wall – something Democrats vehemently oppose. 
The president on New Year's Day dangled the possibility of a deal, despite the lack of visible progress over a dispute over his border wall and the ongoing shutdown.
Under the park service's shutdown plan, authorities have to close any area where garbage or other problems become threats to health and safety or to wildlife, spokesperson Jeremy Barnum said in an email on Monday.
'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 cannot be adequately protected by the excepted law enforcement staff that remain on duty,' Barnum said.
In the southern Sierra Nevada in Central California, some areas of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks were closed on Monday evening. 
In Sequoia, home to immense and ancient giant sequoias, General Highway was closed because overflowing trash bins were spreading litter and posed a threat to wildlife and the icy, jammed roadway was seeing up to three-hour delays, according to the National Park Service.
Also closed was the Grant Tree Trail, a popular hiking spot, because the government shutdown halted maintenance and left the path dangerously slick from ice and snow, with at least one injury reported, the park service said.
Campers at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California's deserts were reporting squabbles as different families laid claims to sites, with no rangers on hand to adjudicate, Ethan Feltges, who operates the Coyote Corner gift shop outside Joshua Tree, said.
This photo taken on December 31 and provided by Dakota Snider shows trash tossed on the grounds in Yosemite National Park, California
This photo taken on December 31 and provided by Dakota Snider shows trash tossed on the grounds in Yosemite National Park, California
Trump on Twitter connected the shutdown to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi's likely speakership, which is set to begin Thursday.
'Border Security and the Wall 'thing' and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?' Trump wrote, ending his tweet with a question.
His reference to the wall 'thing' was a likely shot at Pelosi for her own comment claiming Trump's push for a border wall was connected to his sense of 'manhood.' 
'It's like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing,' Pelosi privately told House Democrats after an explosive White House meeting before the shutdown. Those comments immediately leaked.
The White House extended the invitation to congressional leaders on New Year's Eve, Politico reported.  
Trump on Twitter connected the shutdown to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi's (pictured) likely speakership, which is set to begin Thursday 
Trump on Twitter connected the shutdown to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi's (pictured) likely speakership, which is set to begin Thursday 
Democrats will but forward a bill with $1.3 billion in border security but no wall funding
Democrats will but forward a bill with $1.3 billion in border security but no wall funding
The president claimed Democrats 'do not care' about open borders and crime and drugs
The president claimed Democrats 'do not care' about open borders and crime and drugs
Trump referenced Pelosi's 'manhood' comment about the wall after it was revealed congressional leaders have been invited to the White House
Trump referenced Pelosi's 'manhood' comment about the wall after it was revealed congressional leaders have been invited to the White House
Feltges and other business owners around Joshua Tree had stepped into the gap as much as possible, hauling trailers into the park to empty overflowing trash bins and sweeping and stocking restrooms that were still open, Feltges said.
Feltges himself had set up a portable toilet at his store to help the visitors still streaming in and out of the park. He was spending his days standing outside his store, offering tips about the park in place of the rangers who normally would be present.
'The whole community has come together,' Feltges said. 'Everyone loves the park. And there's a lot of businesses that actually need the park.'
Some visitors have strung Christmas lights in the twisting Joshua trees, many of which are hundreds of years old, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Most visitors were being respectful of the desert wilderness and park facilities, Joshua Tree's superintendent, David Smith, said in a statement.
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. 
Joshua Tree said it would begin closing some campgrounds for all but day use.
At Yosemite, Snider, the local resident, said crowds of visitors were driving into the park to take advantage of free admission, with only a few park rangers working and a limited number of restrooms open.
Visitors were allowing their dogs to run off-leash in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and scattering bags of garbage along the roads, Snider said.
'You're looking at Yosemite Falls and in front of you is plastic bottles and trash bags,' he said.
Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado said on Monday they were closing restrooms and locking up trash bins in many locations.
In Yellowstone National Park, private companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers. 
The contractors that operate park tours by snowmobile, buses and vans are grooming trails, hauling trash and replacing toilet paper at pit toilets and restrooms along their routes.
Nearly all roads inside Yellowstone are normally closed for winter, meaning most visitors at this time of the year access park attractions like Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone through guides. 
Those guides are splitting the cost of grooming the trails used by their vehicles to keep their operations going, said Travis Watt, general manager of See Yellowstone Alpen Guides based in West Yellowstone, Montana.
The tour companies can likely keep this system going through the entire winter season if they need to, Watt said.
'It's definitely not our preference - the park service does a good job doing their thing and we hate to see them out of work,' Watt said. 'But it's something we can handle.'

6 comments:

  1. That is obviously democrats trash

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no it is republican trash.

      ""Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs,""

      Delete
  2. Stand tuff Trump that little bit of trash is nothing compared to the trash that illegally crosses our boarder..

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't think a government shutdown in Canada would affect the parks, if such a thing could be conceived of in Canada. The parks are basically self-funded through visitor fees, at least the national ones. Provincial parks are a bit different, you only have to pay to camp.

    Anyway where we do have similar problems in Canada is the vast areas of "Crown land" (land owned by the government). These areas are the place to go to see the worst in people in terms of trashing the forests and leaving garbage everywhere. When I was a young lad we packed out all of our own trash and our motorcycles didn't do much damage to the existing trails. Now many of the people are on "four-by's" (we call them quads) and they wreck everything and leave piles of trash everywhere.

    A government shutdown is unlikely in Canada because our system works a bit different than in the US. We have a house and senate and separate judiciary, but generally the senate is only a "check" on the house and the house if it reaches an impasse, say in the case of a minority government that lost a vote, would go straight to a new election. It's hard to imagine how the Canadian system would be able to reach a "shut down". If we did, it would probably be a good thing nobody's life, liberty or property is safe when congress is in session, or parliament in our case.

    Also our senators are not elected, they are appointed by the elected parliament, but there has been much debate about that in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Close the parks to keep out litterers?

    ReplyDelete
  5. funny nothing is ever mentioned about the 100's of tons of garbage and human waste illegals leave on our side of the border

    ReplyDelete