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National Parks Overflow With Trash Amid Government Shutdown

by Axios | Updated on 1.1.19

Human waste, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other bad behavior in fragile areas is beginning to overwhelm some of the West's iconic national parks, AP's Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker report:

Driving the news: The partial government shutdown has 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, said, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas.


Why it matters: Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors.

  • "It's really a nightmare scenario," 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."

Spotted: "In Sequoia, home to [California's] ancient giant sequoias, General Highway was closed because overflowing trash bins were spreading litter and posed a threat to wildlife."

  • "[T]he icy, jammed roadway was seeing up to three-hour delays."
  • "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."
  • "Some visitors have strung Christmas lights in the twisting Joshua trees, many of which are hundreds of years old."
  • "At Yosemite, ... crowds of visitors were driving into the park to take advantage of free admission."
  • "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."

"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."
Axios

Written by Axios

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(196)
  • burrkitty
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    Stupid stupid people. Close the parks if you aren’t going to have the staff out there. The reason we put the areas under protection is because it will get destroyed if we leave it alone. God we are a short-sighted species. Idiots. Tragedy of the commons. Look it up.

    Like (77)
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  • Jason
    Voted Sad
    01/01/2019
    ···

    Our national parks have been underfunded for decades, taking back to ill conceived budget plans of the early 90’s. Too many are already operating on a shoestring. All based on the false economy of across-the-board cuts, “pay-fors”, deficit scare-mongering, and other disingenuous republican tactics. Appoint a real Secretary of the Interior. Pass a real spending bill: one that reflects the will of the people, not the special interests behind the wall.

    Like (51)
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  • Ellen
    01/01/2019
    ···

    Read through all comments. I’m amazed poor human behavior blamed on politics. One comment. “ people are pigs”. They nailed it. Carry in...carry out ! Is appropriate.

    Like (43)
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  • Mark
    Voted Apathetic
    01/02/2019
    ···

    Guess we better fund border security huh?

    Like (21)
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  • BlueSphere
    Voted Sad
    01/01/2019
    ···

    We all complain about rules and laws and the government, but presented with free and unrestricted access to these parks, what do we do? Trash the place and disrespect the wildlife. Humans are so disappointing sometimes.

    Like (42)
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  • Zero
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    45's war on the environment continues.

    Like (33)
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  • Thomas
    01/01/2019
    ···

    Say what you want regarding “The Wall” that is your right; but, acting like damned pigs is disgusting. Take your shit with you. For the interim maybe volunteer groups or work release state prisoners could help to clear some of trash.

    Like (23)
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  • Liz
    Voted Apathetic
    01/01/2019
    ···

    BLAME IT ON THOSE CRAZY DEMOCRATS!!!! BUILD THAT WALL!!!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    Like (9)
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  • Bmarkis
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    You know it really is abhorrent that while our parks are still open they can't be maintained thanks to Trump's temper tantrum. And on top of that it is reprehensible that people are behaving so badly now that they aren't being supervised. This falls on everyone's shoulders.

    Like (19)
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  • Mark
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    All you’ve got to do is STOP this STUPID Government Shut Down!! None of you have the courage to stand up to this MORON !! It would be nice to see you consider the people you represent, not the PACS that you suck up to...

    Like (17)
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  • Azrael
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    Time to take responsibility Blaming others for our poor behavior is much more disgusting than trash and sewage Pick up your trash Clean up after yourself Have at least half a brain Carry your own sanitary supplies This is your property Care for it the way you would care for your homes

    Like (12)
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  • Justin
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    This is beyond unacceptable, rubbing salt in the wound of our planet’s already ailing ecosystems. Shame on these ignorant Park visitors and Republicans, who want to exacerbate this condition with a wall, and are willing to shut down our government for it, diluting the only force for good and order.

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  • Tinee
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    “I will take the mantle, I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”. Donald Trump Places need maintenance. Trump shut down the government over a wall is just a huge waste of money. Bills continue to come in even tho income stops. The wall or fence will be between the Pacific ocean & the Atlantic ocean. One can take a boat to get around either end. In San Diego California no ladder or tunnel is needed. One can swim or take a boat across the border. Terrain is another issue. It's simply not feasible to build a wall or fence of any kind because of terrain. Don't take my word for this. Look up the walls route on the internet or take a drive and see for yourself. Trump wants the wall to stroke his enormous fragile ego. The memes depicting Donald Trump as a toddler are fitting .

    Like (10)
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  • Dara
    Voted Sad
    01/01/2019
    ···

    This is what the art of the deal looks like, chaos and destruction. Stupidity.

    Like (9)
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  • Ken
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    Trash containers only hold so much trash. That's one park official's duty that's taken for granted until there's no one to fill that job. Everybody that visits a park pays a fee that covers this. I don't know about everyone else but to me it looks like government incompetence. Trump owns this. maybe we could get someone to transport all this garbage to Mar a Largo.

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  • KansasTamale
    Voted Angry
    01/02/2019
    ···

    Trump doesn’t CARE ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARKS OR LANDS. ALL HE SEES IS $$$$ FOR HIS POCKETS TO RUIN THEM BY DRILLING OR WHATEVER. People should care about keeping the parks clean, perhaps a surcharge for using the facilities while the Government is shut down.

    Like (9)
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  • Kaycek1
    Voted Angry
    01/02/2019
    ···

    We have to get the government under control! Allowing a narcissistic dictator to hold all of us hostage is wrong. What happened to the separation of powers? It's time for Congress to do their jobs!

    Like (8)
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  • Jeffrey
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    If people will trash and disrespect property that is supposed to be national property then imagine what their own property looks loke

    Like (8)
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  • Robert
    Voted Angry
    01/01/2019
    ···

    That’s right mess up our parks now over yer stupid wall😱

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  • Patty
    Voted Angry
    01/02/2019
    ···

    Trump trash.....

    Like (8)
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