Government shutdown is clogging up our National Parks

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Affective Dec. 30, 2018, Yosemite National Park’s Wawona and Hodgdon Meadow campgrounds, and the Mariposa Grove, were closed due to impacts from human waste and vehicular safety concerns along Wawona Road, Highway 41. All park visitor centers were also closed, as stated by the National Parks Traveler, a media-based nonprofit organization dedicated to covering national parks around the country.

While these specific closures are in effect, Sierra Star reports that Yosemite National Park and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park still remain open to the public during the federal government shutdown.

National Parks Traveler has reported, though, that some units of the National Park system are facing greater pressures caused by the partial government shutdown. What exactly are these pressures?

In Yosemite, the Park Service-provided information and orientation will not be available; entrance stations will be open, but unstaffed; visitor centers and the museum will be closed; all National Service programs will be canceled; and the public information office phone line will not be staffed. Concession services will remain open, including restaurants, lodging, the shuttle system, and Upper Pines Campground and Camp 4. Hiking trails that are normally open will still be available. However, snowy conditions may apply.

Furthermore, with the shutdown now in its third week, accumulations of human waste and overflowing garbage cans have forced some parks to close campgrounds, restrooms, and trailheads. Specifically, the Mariposa Grove of Sequoias at Yosemite National Park was closed due to the absence of maintenance crews to deal with the wastes. Some parks that have avoided such problems could encounter them this week as funding support runs out.

While some services are shut down, just like the government, others are benefitting from helping hands from states, concessionaires, and non-governmental organizations, according to the National Parks Traveler.

Kelsey Lester-Perry
Kelsey is an award-winning reporter from San Jose who recently moved to Clovis. Her previous work experiences includes the Spartan Daily, La Voz Weekly, and the Gilroy Patch.