Overflowing toilets force closure at Joshua Tree Park

Human waste, rubbish overwhelm some US national parks in shutdown

National parks overflowing with poop because of government shutdown

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. "We are in a shutdown because Democrats refuse to fund border security". "We could use people coming from Mexico to help, you know, with jobs, and they help fuel the economy as well".

"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.

Although some services were put on hold, employees are trying to keep some areas accessible to visitors.

At Joshua Tree in southern California, trash cans were spilling over and fights were breaking out among campers on the grounds, with no rangers on hand to adjudicate, according to Ethan Feltges, who runs the Coyote Corner gift shop outside the park.

Federal agencies such as the National Archives, the US Commission of Fine Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities have been closed since the shutdown began on December 22, when President Trump refused to pass the federal budget.

"People entering closed areas are being cited", the tweet said.

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Pinnacles National Park, also in California, closed its eastern gate because of trash and heavy traffic, reported The Salinas Californian.

Almost 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.

Many travelers have changed their plans, and the results could mean an economic hit for the small towns adjacent to many of these national parks - including Mariposa, CA (population 2,200 and a gateway to Yosemite); Beatty, NV (population 1,000 and home to some of the hotels closest to Death Valley National Park); and Twentynine Palms, CA (population 25,000, on the north edge of Joshua Tree). Garbage is overflowing in bins at Big Bend National Park in Texas, causing health hazards as well as attracting black bears.

"The whole community has come together", he said.

Most visitors were being respectful of the desert wilderness and park facilities, Joshua Tree's superintendent David Smith said. Dogs are not permitted on park trails. "People are trampling and destroying the things they want to preserve without knowing it ..."

The NPS also explained that the government shutdown prevented it from making staff available to "provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response".

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