National Parks have reopened to the public

Yosemite National Park is reopened to the public after a shutdown order on Dec. 31 due to human waste and other safety concerns. (Courtesy of 12019/Pixabay)

It has been reported that Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are now reopened to the public after a recent closure due to the government shutdown.

Officials previously closed the park indefinitely on Dec. 31, due to perturbations such as: an accumulation of human waste; vehicular safety; looting; poaching; and other various safety concerns.

“Some visitor services, including campgrounds and entrance stations, will reopen using revenue generated by recreation fees,” according to park spokesman Sintia Kawasaki-Yee. “All areas that are typically open this time of year, including campgrounds, restrooms, trails, and roads, are open, except visitor centers. These areas will remain open unless winter conditions or other factors require otherwise.”

Other services may be limited or unavailable during the government shutdown, including ranger talks and programs.

National Parks are hesitant to open with limited staff and support because of tragedies like the one that befell Yosemite the first week of January.

Yosemite National Park reported, on Jan. 4, that a man died after falling into a river on Christmas Day, and a spokesman said a statement was not issued more promptly and the investigation is taking longer than usual because of the shutdown.

Now that the park has reopened, people living near Yosemite have organized work crews while businesses in neighboring towns are offering incentives for visitors to remove their rubbish.

People visiting Yosemite will be receiving garbage bags and tips on how best to use the park during the shutdown, courtesy of the Tuolumne County Visitors’ Bureau.

One recommendation: “Go before you go,” a reference to the limited number of open bathrooms, executive director Lisa Mayo said.

So if you are planning a visit to a national park with this government shutdown still in effect –– be wary, be safe, use the restroom beforehand, and B.Y.O.T.B. (bring your own trash bag).

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.