Yosemite, the nation's third most-visited national park, remains open but various campgrounds, as well as snow play areas, are "closed due to human waste issues and lack of staffing", according to its website.
"We're afraid that we're going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artefacts", John Garder, senior budget director of the National Parks Conservation Association, said.
"Areas within the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park are also closed". Some of the roads at Yosemite National Park have been reported to be virtual toilets with restrooms locked and sanitation services nonexistent.
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. "Regardless of what happens in Washington, the Grand Canyon will not close on our watch", said Governor Doug Ducey in a press statement released a few days before the shutdown began.
NOTICE: The park is receiving heavy snowfall and it has become necessary to close the park road at the visitor center due to unsafe conditions.
Unlike some previous government shutdowns, when national parks closed entirely, gates have remained opened under the Trump administration, leaving parks severely understaffed.
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Since December 22, the lack of funds has meant a total, not "partial" shutdown for most properties operated by the National Park Service (NPS). Visitors are encouraged to stop and use restroom facilities in the gateway communities before entering the park. That includes packing up every single piece of trash you create and bringing them out of the park with you. Also the safety of visitors could be at risk.
"You're looking at Yosemite Falls and in front of you is plastic bottles and trash bags, " he said. "It's really a nightmare scenario". "There is more garbage, feces, and usually miss, as I've seen in the four years that I live here", says Dakota Snider, the valley works in Yosemite. Indeed, Joshua Tree is reportedly closing all campsites starting today.
The park said Wednesday that rangers will staff a checkpoint from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m.at the south entrance reached via Highway 41 and only those with lodging or camping reservations in the park will be allowed to proceed. A number of other parks in the Western US will also remain partially accessible with limited facilities.
Contractors who operate tours in Yellowstone National Park are grooming trails, hauling garbage, and filling restrooms with toilet paper in an effort to keep their businesses open.
"It's definitely not our preference - the park service does a good job doing their thing and we hate to see them out of work, " Watt said.