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.
Officials closed the Mariposa Grove and the Wawona and Hodgson Meadows campgrounds due to human feces and urine along California Highway 41, the Times reported. All other visitors will be asked to enter Yosemite using the Highway 140 entrance and enter the park via the El Portal Road. Yosemite Valley's lodgings, restaurants, ski area at Badger Pass and the park shuttle remain open.
Trash begins to accumulate along the National Mall near the Washington Monument due to a partial shutdown of the federal government.
While Washington continues to butt heads over the funding for Trump's border wall, the partial government shutdown has seen hundreds of thousands of federal government employees put on furlough, including rangers, cleaners, and other staff at numerous United States national parks. "A nightmare scenario", he says. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery and National Zoo are all closed because of the shutdown. However, under the Trump administration, the gates have remained open to guests, which means free access but few park employees to help keep the park clean and help keep visitors safe.
"It's really a big deal for Joshua Tree", she said of the campground closings.
In California, tourists have been relieving themselves on the side of the roads because Yosemite's restrooms and visitor centers have been shuttered since December 22 when the shutdown began, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"The whole community has come together, " Feltges said, also by phone.
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.
Garder said NPCA is monitoring the situation and seeing trends that visitors in the parks are disregarding rules about keeping dogs on leashes, prohibitions on drones, and restrictions on where to camp, all of which can harm or disrupt the natural environment or wildlife in the area.
"You're looking at Yosemite Falls and in front of you is plastic bottles and trash bags, " he said.
In Yellowstone National Park private tour companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers. That is because the pit toilets are almost overflowing and trash has become an issue due to the fact that employees are now on furlough.
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.