Near-capacity toilets force Joshua Tree campgrounds to close amid government shutdown


Visitors to Joshua Tree National Park may want to re-think their plans this week as the park will close down all of its campgrounds on January 2 due to the government shutdown.

Due to this, the updated closure list includes Wawona Campground, Hodgen Meadow Campground, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Crane Flat Snow Play Area and Goat Meadow Snow Play Area. "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".

Handwritten signs have also been posted asking visitors not to litter, as there are now no trash services. Yosemite Valley's lodgings, restaurants, ski area at Badger Pass and the park shuttle remain open.

On the Yosemite Twitter account, officials said Sunday a "lack of the restrooms and resulting impacts from human waste" forced campgrounds to close.

Of the many people and institutions being hurt by the ongoing government shutdown, the National Park Service is taking a hard hit. "A nightmare scenario", he says.

The visitor center and museum at Yosemite have closed, and emergency response times may increase during the shutdown, officials said.

Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the lack of staff.

"It's really a big deal for Joshua Tree", she said of the campground closings. The Highway 120 entrance also remains open.

(Too bad Ansel Adams isn't around to photograph that, eh?) As National Park Service employees are part of the many furloughed federal employees, park services like clearing icy and snow-covered roads, cleaning restrooms, maintaining paths, and keeping visitors safe and informed are not working.

"This is a reflection on their efforts and the park is very fortunate to have a community that exhibits the kind of care and concern witnessed over the last week", he said.

"We're deeply concerned about the threat to park resources and to visitor safety with this park closure situation", Garder said in a phone interview Monday. "And there's a lot of businesses that actually need the park".

The NPS also explained that the government shutdown prevented it from making staff available to "provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response". "Everyone loves the Park".

Visitors were allowing their dogs to run off-leash in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and scattering bags of garbage along the roads, Snider said. Visitors are entering without paying, and with no staff on hand, bathrooms are not being cleaned and trash cans are overflowing. Those guides are splitting the cost of grooming the trails used by their vehicles to keep their operations going, said Travis Watt, general manager of See Yellowstone Alpen Guides based in West Yellowstone, Montana.