Full Toilets Close National Park Campgrounds

January 4, 2019

As the federal government shutdown enters its second week, and a quarter of federal employees remain out of work, national parks are beginning to show signs of neglect, the Los Angeles Times reports. Park officials closed the campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms, CA, due to health concerns over pit toilets that are filled to near-capacity with no workers available to pump them out.

At Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, the nation’s third most-visited national park, the buildup of human waste in facilities has led to the closure of the Mariposa Grove of Grand Sequoias, as well as several campgrounds. Officials are concerned that excess trash due to lack of garbage pickup could attract wildlife, including bears, increasing the risk of dangerous encounters with humans.

Volunteers have been emptying dumpsters and replacing garbage bags in trash cans at several parks One group in Joshua Tree National Park picked up more than 40 bags of trash on New Year’s Day—including a lot of champagne bottles—the remains of celebrations the night before.

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