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The National Park Service expands Operations during the Government Shutdown: NPR



During the closing, visitors walked and stood over the rock formations at Joshua Tree National Park on Friday.

Mario Tama / Getty Images


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Mario Tama / Getty Images

During the shutdown, visitors walked and stood over the rock formations at Joshua Tree National Park on Friday.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

In an unprecedented move, the National Park Service has decided to immerse in admission fees to pay for extended operations during a government shutdown that has cut many of its workers.

The decision comes after degradation reports on parks – garbage thrown on the ground, human waste waste, and visitors are acting irresponsibly by removing their dogs or riding off-road to make donuts in the desert. ] The modified contingency plan, obtained and reported by The Washington Post, does not specify how many agency employees will return to work, or where parks will receive additional funds staff.

In a statement earlier on Sunday, the National Park Service said that the funds would not be able to fully open the parks, and many of the small sites nationwide would remain closed.

"The NPS will begin using these funds to clean the garbage that builds in many parks, clean and maintain bathrooms, bringing additional law enforcement to parks in accessible patrol areas, and to restore access to places that are usually accessible at this time of year, "the agency wrote in the press release.

Only 115 of the 418 park agency agencies collect admission fees. The Washington Post reported that the active secretary of the Department of Interior David Bernhardt, asked for a list of parks to expand their operations by using money from park fees and those who do not collect fees but have shown the need for additional funds.

Transfer of Service to the National Park may violate appropriation laws because park fees collected under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act are designated

An imperfect solution

Some park advocates, such as Sabra Purdy, co-owner of the service rock climbing guide operating at Joshua Tree National Park, are concerned that sinking park fees will reduce funds for in future park services.

Joshua tree stands at Joshua Tree National Park on Friday, where campgrounds and some roads are closed.

Mario Tama / Getty Images


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Mario Tama / Getty Images

Joshua tree stands at Joshua Tree National Park on Friday, where campgrounds and some roads are closed.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

He said this is especially about given the fact that many of the parks have lost a huge amount of park fee money – sometimes in millions of dollars – by not collecting fees during the holiday season, when many of them have increased visitors.

"If we spend what fees are collected prior to the temporary stop gap funding of this emergency, we would say Peter would pay Paul," he said. "I do not think this is a great long-term solution but I understand why people want to do it."

Finally, Purdy helps move, though reluctant, because he wants to see park-paid workers and he's thinking of national parks can use resources.

While national parks are still open for less than two weeks, Purdy and dozens of others nationwide have volunteered to fill in missing workers.

"I am laughing as a park service cleaner over the last 16 days with many, many more people," he said.

human waste dump stories and garbage collection at national parks, which force some to close, volunteers are keeping some parks open and in clean shape.

"Toilet Paper Angels" cleansed Joshua Tree National Park

Volunteers carry hundreds of rolls of toilet paper at Joshua Tree National Park daily during closing.

By courtesy of Sabra Purdy


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Courtesy of Sabra Purdy

The first thing a husband and businessman did with Purdy Seth Zaharias in the morning after the partial shutdown of the government on December 22, went to Walmart and spent $ 100 on the toilet paper.

Zaharias knew one of the first Problems in not having park service workers are bathrooms.

No one cleansed, empty and maintained trashcans and restrooms, Zaharias worried that garbage – and human waste – would be built and the conditions would worsen at the park's shutter point. "I know a disaster will come and I will not leave the federal government to ruin my home," he said.

Purdy was then posted on Facebook, inviting others to join them in the cleaning of the park, and it quickly grew into a grassroots volunteer movement.

Today, couples have an open meeting in their store each morning where they can take care to clean up anyone who shows. On any day, 10 to 50 people will appear. Last Saturday, 40 people arrived.

The "Toilet Paper Angels" were elected, volunteers working at Purdy, Zaharias and two local non-profits – Joshua's Tree Friends and Joshua Tree Climber's Collective – hundreds of toilet paper listings go to the park daily.

The work they have to do in the bathrooms is far from holy.

"I saw many bathrooms covered with diarrhea," says Zaharias.

In addition to cleaning and fixing the bathrooms, volunteers also use trucks and trailers to catch garbage from dumpsters that overflow.

"Garbage burns and blows in the desert if not for volunteers," Purdy said.

Seth Zaharias and a volunteer crew worked to clear the dumpsters at Joshua Tree National Park late last month.

By courtesy of Sabra Purdy


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Courtesy of Sabra Purdy

Purdy said only one day that volunteers were delivering £ 4,000 worth of waste.

Efforts to clean up the park are not sustainable

Cleaning of parks is difficult, effortless, but Zaharias says volunteers at Joshua Tree National Park promises to continue every day until the shutdown ends.

"It's not just the place where food is placed on our table, but a place we consider sacred," he said.

However, in fact, despite nearly $ 11,000 in donations to support their efforts, Zaharias estimates that volunteers can continue only the amount of time and resources they spend in a few weeks just yet.

The news of the decision of the National Park Service resulted in little help from her husband. Purdy expects Joshua Tree National Park to be one of the picks for additional staff resources.

If so, he hopes that the janitors of the National Park Service will be some of the first man returning to work.


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