Garbage, faeces take toll on USA national parks amid shutdown

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

Human faeces, overflowing garbage and illegal off-road driving in fragile areas were beginning to overwhelm some of the iconic national parks in the U.S., where a partial government shutdown left areas open to visitors but few staff on duty.

Although the trash cans are overflowing and the restrooms are without toilet paper, it's hoped this shutdown will pass without any casualties. Also, the main road in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks is blocked because of the waste of crowded containers is a threat to the animals and the traffic was building up on the icy roadway. However, the number of visitors has swelled, "no one is at the gate", and "no one is collecting a fee".

The park said Wednesday that rangers will staff a checkpoint from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m.at the south entrance reached via Highway 41 and only those with lodging or camping reservations in the park will be allowed to proceed. Less civic-minded folks are illegally off-roading, tromping though delicate natural areas that are off-limits, and leaving behind mountains of garbage that can endanger wildlife.

"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 can not be adequately protected by the excepted law enforcement staff that remain on duty, " Barnum said. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery and National Zoo are all closed because of the shutdown.

Check out the photo of the garbage heap at the Washington Monument.

A trash can overflows as people site outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial by the Tidal Basin in Washington
JACQUELYN MARTIN APA trash can overflows as people site outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial by the Tidal Basin in Washington

Joshua Tree National Park in southern California, which sees the majority of its visitors this time of year, announced that it will shut its popular campgrounds today due to poor sanitary conditions, report Ray Sanchez and Chris Boyette at CNN. "And there are many companies that are of the national Park".

The National Park Service noted that the pit toilets were near capacity and human waste in public areas was becoming a problem, adding that illegal off-roading and other harmful actions were also causing damage to the park. As news outlets such as the Washington Post have reported, many of these same businesses are pitching in to complete the jobs the NPS and its contractors manage - as in picking up garbage, cleaning the bathrooms and keeping tabs on the park.

Of the many people and institutions being hurt by the ongoing government shutdown, the National Park Service is taking a hard hit.

"Everyone loves the park".

Officials have suggested that visitors use restrooms in surrounding communities before entering national parks. Some walking trails that are normally covered in sand have also become compressed and icy, making travel hazardous.

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