From the sounds of things, it looks like our National Parks are not doing so well.
Some parks are open. Some are closed. But regardless, all the parks are completely understaffed (if they are still staffed at all). This means that visitors are coming in and leaving their trash behind. Toilets are over flowing and the waste is piling up. Without staff to pick up after the visitors, our National Parks are literally getting trashed.
Here in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is remaining open. Governor, Doug Ducey is using state funds to supply the National Park with emergency money. This allows 70 out of the 300 rangers to still be on the job to maintain the park. Although with less than half the amount of rangers, I’m sure trash is piling up at a more quicker pace than usual.
In California the Joshua Tree National Park has had an extremely rough time. While parts remained opened, some people decided to go off roading in the park and set up camping sites, where camping sites are not allowed. Trees have been cut down and the park has been completely vandalized.
On the positive side, caring people are volunteering the own personal time to help clean up the damage that has already been done.
This week, officials have closed the park completely so that they can repair damages. Although, some say the repairs will likely take months or years longer to get the park back in the shape it was before December 22nd.
So while our government is at a partial shut down, our public land is left unguarded. This is a great time to reflect upon the importance of having beautiful and vast land land and keeping it protected. It’s not the government’s country. It’s our country. Let’s keep it beautiful.