After a record-breaking 35 days, the U.S. government is back up and running, but the damage to our National Parks is done. Last week we told you about the impact the shutdown had on the day-to-day business of the National Park Service (NPS) [link].
Unfortunately, some of our precious parks suffered unimaginably over the past several weeks. Over 85% of NPS employees were not working, but people were still visiting the parks. With little supervision, surveillance, and security in the parks, visitors policed themselves. And we all know how that goes. Trash cans and public restrooms were overflowing with waste when workers returned.
Joshua Tree, an 800,000-acre park in Southern California, has emerged as the face of damages incurred during the shutdown. Visitors vandalized the park, cut down endangered Joshua trees, caused damage with illegal campfires, and created tracks with off-road vehicles.
Currently, the plan is for the government to stay open for three weeks to continue negotiations over funding the wall. So, this may not be the last we hear of park destruction.
Whether that happens or not, the NPS need all the help they can get. Click here to make a donation or volunteer your time to help clean up our National Parks!