Photos Reveal The Devastating Impact The Government Shutdown Is Having On National Parks

With the partial government shutdown entering its 20th day on Thursday, more effects are being felt with the Department of Agriculture closing its Farm Service Agency county offices and the National Park Service suspending road maintenance and trash-collecting operations.

Sadly, our beautiful National Parks are suffering as a result of the shutdown, with unruly visitors wreaking havoc on unprotected park grounds.


Business Insider reported on the damaging effects at National Parks.

Trash, vandalism, and human waste clogging toilets became rampant as disorderly visitors descended on parks in the absence of staff members collecting admission.


The photos below are heartbreaking.

Here are some broken sleds tossed aside and abandoned.

@publiclandlvr/Twitter

Smoldering logs left unattended were discovered at the site.

@publiclandlvr/Twitter

All civility seems to have been forgotten.

@dsoltesz/Twitter

This folding chair with empty paper cups was clumsily left out in the cold.

@publiclandlvr/Twitter

With trash bins already full, the outhouse became another kind of dump site.

@publiclandlvr/Twitter

Dakota Snider, a 24-year-old Yosemite National Park staff member, told the Associated Press that the National Parks are currently a "free-for-all."

"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."

On Sunday, the western Sierra Nevada park in Central California that was first protected in 1864 was forced to close its campgrounds due to "human waste issues" and "lack of staffing," according to the National Park Service.




Not all National Parks have closed during the shutdown. Joshua Tree National Park, also in California near San Bernardino and Palm Springs, remained open by spending from the Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds to clean up trash and fix overflowing toilets.

Unfortunately, reckless motorists destroyed sensitive areas of the park, and others destroyed some of the precious monocotyledonous trees that populate the desert.





Joshua Tree superintendent David Smith told National Parks Traveler that the delicate trees are facing extinction due to climate change, with much of their habitat expected to be wiped out by 2100.

"We're just in crisis mode right now." Smith said.

Park officials released a statement saying that volunteers have been keeping the area clean and helping to reopen the public restrooms since the shutdown on December 22.

"The park will also bring on additional staff to ensure the protection of park resources and mitigate some of the damage that has occurred during the lapse of appropriations."


Despite all the vandalism taking place at our beautiful National Parks, the good people of America are showing up to clean up.

But is it enough?

If the shutdown continues through Saturday, it will be the longest in U.S. history, affecting 800,000 federal employees who have been without pay since Christmas.

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