Overflowing toilets force closure at Joshua Tree Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Some of the West's iconic national parks are beginning to partially close as they deal with overflowing restrooms and vandals on the 10th day of a federal government shutdown.

The shutdown has also left a stinking mess at Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California. "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.

He and other business owners have pitched in to empty trash, stock restrooms and haul trailers onto park grounds.

At Acadia National Park in ME, restroom use and trash collection have come to a halt because of the shutdown, which was caused by an impasse over President Trump's border wall proposal.

"We fear that nature can seriously damage and possibly also historical and other attractions", says John Garder of the non-governmental National Park Conservation Association. "We're concerned there'll be impacts to visitors' safety".

But for many national parks, the outcome of this shutdown could turn ugly as this spit-spat drags on - especially if the White House and the newly elected Congress, now with a Democratic-majority House, continue to dig in their heels. "A nightmare scenario", he says.

"The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity", the National Park Service (NPS) announced. "But it also showed me, especially with this park ranger working unpaid, it showed me the dedication that some people have for their jobs and have for the greater good of society".

Handwritten signs have also been posted asking visitors not to litter, as there are now no trash services.

Already, services are limited due to the lapse in federal appropriations caused by the government shutdown.

A trash can overflows as people site outside of the Martin Luther King Jr.

Joshua Tree, which covers more than 792,000 acres of national park from Palm Springs north to the town of Joshua Tree, will remain open during the shutdown.

He was spending his days standing outside his store, offering tips about the park in place of the rangers who would normally be present.

"The whole community has come together", he said. "Everyone loves the Park. And there's a lot of businesses that actually need the park".

Most visitors were being respectful of the desert wilderness and park facilities, Joshua Tree's superintendent David Smith said.

"It's really a big deal for Joshua Tree", she said of the campground closings. "You look at the Yosemite waterfalls, and prior to that, water bottles and trash bags pile up".

The National Archives is closed as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week.

In California, tourists have been relieving themselves on the side of the roads because Yosemite's restrooms and visitor centers have been shuttered since December 22 when the shutdown began, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In Yellowstone National Park private tour companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers.

As the government shutdown persists, nature lovers are coping with overflowing toilets and garbage cans, and improvised open-air bathrooms. Because in the Winter nearly all the roads within the Park are closed, can attractions most of the visitors like the Grand Canyon only with the help of Guides to visit. But still, they can't keep going forever.

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