7 people have died in national parks during shutdown; that's not unusual

Pauline Gross
January 10, 2019

While the NPS will not be able to fully open parks, and numerous smaller sites around the country will remain closed, utilizing these funds now will allow the American public to safely visit many of our nation's national parks while providing these iconic treasures the protection they deserve. "We are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that parks are protected, and that visitors can continue to access parks with limited basic services".

Members of a Muslim youth group spent the weekend collecting trash and otherwise cleaning up national parks around the country - helping out in the midst of the government shutdown.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) gives the NPS broad authority to decide how to use funds collected from park fees, according to Regan.

While visitors could enter the park without a vehicle, it's not recommended.

Cleaning the parks is hard, unglamorous work, but Zaharias said that volunteers at Joshua Tree National Park are committed to continuing every day until the shutdown ends.

During the lapse of appropriations, the men and women of the National Park Service who have remained on duty have gone to incredible lengths to keep America's iconic national parks as accessible as possible to the American public. Although, the parks are not expected to fully open.

The Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior, one of the agencies affected by the prolonged partial government shutdown that began in late December.

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The Montana Republican had written to Bernhardt the previous day seeking an adjustment to the Interior Department's implementation of the shutdown at National Park Services sites.

The funds would normally be used for special projects at the parks, according to National Park Service Deputy Director Daniel Smith.

During this influx of visitors, makeshift information centers run by volunteers and retired park service employees were set up at Coyote Corner, a local gift shop just outside the park, to help educate people on where to go and how to behave.

While none of these efforts can replace the full force of the National Parks services, the volunteer-led initiatives show that Americans will always be willing to take care of its lands and communities when adversity arises. "The longer we kick the can down the road, the more it will cost", Dabbs said.

"It's incredibly concerning that the Acting Interior Secretary is putting political pressure on superintendents to keep parks open at the expense of parks' long-term needs and protection", Pierno said. "I'm glad to see the Department of Interior will fund these critical programs while the government is shut down, supporting those in Montana's gateway communities and protecting our national parks". "Draining accounts dry is not the answer".

The news of the National Park Service's decision brought some relief to his wife. "Many park facilities are 50 to 70 years old".

Some parks, including those in Utah, are littered with garbage with restrooms locked and roads blocked because of piling snow.

Other reports by GizPress

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