How the Government Shutdown has Affected our National Parks

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.

bird s eye view of a man on grand canyon mountain

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.

america arid bushes california

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.

canyon cliffs desert dry Photo by Pixabay on


  1. Oops….hit send too soon.
    for several days to a week at a time. It was wonderful and quiet.

    I still don’t know how I convinced my parents to let me do that. 🙂

    1. That sounds like it was amazing!
      I would love to backpack there! Do you have any good recommendations for where to backpack in the park?

  2. This was back in the mid 1970s, so the backpacking regulations may have changed since then….so check first…

    My favorite was to hike to 49 Palms Oasis and then head out the back for a few miles before stopping “for awhile”. Back when I was doing this, 49 Palms had water year around and past 49 Palms, there were a few “caves” (really a 6-8 foot hole in the side of a hill) where water pooled.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know the status of these water sources.

    I still remember looking up at night and seeing the Milky Way looking like a band of clouds in the sky, while hearing only my breathing, maybe the breeze and possibly some nighttime critters moving about.

    I miss that so much.

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