States, Companies, Nonprofits Keeping National Park Restrooms Clean

January 8, 2019

To keep the oldest national park in the United States open despite the partial federal government shutdown, a private company that owns the hotels at Yellowstone National Park is using its own employees to clean public bathrooms in the park without reimbursement from the federal government. Guides with private companies that provide snowmobile tours for tourists are packing in their own toilet paper and packing out their trash.

Yellowstone is not the only park where private companies, volunteers, and nonprofits are taking charge. The park service has reached deals with more than 60 partner groups, concessionaires, and states to handle trash removal, restroom cleanup and other maintenance tasks at more than 40 parks, The Associated Press reports. The state of New York is paying the bills to keep the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island National Monument running, and a private company has donated portable toilets at several locations on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The state of Arizona is paying about US$64,000 a week to cover restroom cleaning, trash removal, and snow plowing. Utah chipped in about $7,500 a day to keep Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Parks running, and a nonprofit contributed $16,000 to pay a small crew to keep the restrooms and visitor center open at Zion. A support group for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Michigan was cleaning toilets and grooming a popular trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

For the latest news on the partial federal government shutdown, which entered its 18th day, visit the CNN live update page.


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