NATIONAL PARKS: 'Rules just no longer exist' -- Thursday, January 3, 2019

Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of Southern California has been forced to close all campgrounds starting Wednesday, The San Bernardino Sun reported.

With few staff on duty in several national parks in the West due to the current government shutdown, reports of overflowing trash, human waste, illegal off-roading and damage to normally restricted areas have surfaced, write Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker for the Associated Press.

Laretig says that he has no idea how long the government shutdown will last but says the volunteers do not plan on stopping until national park staff can go back to work.

Unlike in some previous government shutdowns, many national parks have remained open, though without staff to collect rubbish and service restrooms.

Citing public safety, Yosemite has closed two campgrounds because of human waste polluting the areas while bathrooms are closed and trash pickup is unavailable.

The park also encouraged visitors to use restrooms at the gate communities before entering the park and pack all the trash when leaving. - The park remains open, but visitor services are not being provided.

The government closure over a political battle regarding a wall to line the Mexican border with the US doesn't ban having fun at this national park gem. Park visitors are permitted to hike as far as they want.

Smith added that most visitors have been respectful to the park and the facilities.

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Some parks are closed completely while others remain accessible to the public - even with no employees on hand to assist visitors or clean up after them.

"I went around the barricades but didn't know whether or not I could get past it, so I stopped and got out of the auto and looked at the sign that said the gates were closed", she said. Park officials say without enough supervision, some visitors are off-roading illegally and otherwise damaging the park.

If a government shutdown is an indicator of political immaturity, the bad behavior inside some national parks is evidence that at least some citizens are in desperate need of adult supervision.

They had unleashed their dogs and let then run freely in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and were scattering bags of garbage along the roads, Mr Snider said.

"Other non-essential services provided by the Federal Government agencies may also be affected during the shutdown - check local media for up-to-date information", the FCO said". "I would rather they close than be damaged", said Joe De Luca, a sales associate at Nomad Ventures in the town of Joshua Tree.

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.

"I chose to clean up this one section, because that's what Americans will do", said Mr Snake, a 64-year-old member of the indigenous Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin.

  • Douglas Reid