The Trump Shutdown is Destroying Our National Parks
January 3, 2019
In addition to providing all Americans unmatched opportunities to experience the outdoors, national parks provide economic opportunity to communities across the country, supporting more than 306,000 jobs and generating nearly $36 billion in economic output. But because of the Trump Shutdown, parks have been unable to provide services from sanitation to emergency medical treatment, leaving parks dirty and even dangerous. Here are some stories on the toll the Trump Shutdown is taking on our national parks:
As the Trump Shutdown drags on, the national parks are left to deteriorate while small businesses suffer.
“Greg Henington, owner of Far Flung Outdoor Center in Terlingua, a town just outside the park, said he voted for President Trump but blames the president for the shutdown, which he says creates confusion and uncertainty for local businesses. ‘If we are going to continue to use the federal government as a weapon for not getting what we want in the sandbox, then this is untenable for small business. We can’t make decisions, we lay off employees, we take cancellations,’ he said.”
Trash is piling up as the Trump Shutdown prevents national parks from providing even the most basic services to visitors.
“If Californians ever wondered how the state’s most majestic open spaces would fare without adult supervision, the partial federal government shutdown is offering a grim picture. At Joshua Tree National Park, champagne bottles were left strewn on the desert floor on New Year’s morning, along with a prom dress. Someone had kicked one of the iconic trees, perhaps to see how sturdy it was. Human waste was piling up.”
Federal workers furloughed by Trump are halting forest thinning, which is essential in preventing devastating forest fires.
“The local forest thinning project works to prevent catastrophic wildfires, improve forest health and protect local watersheds through collaboration between Flagstaff, the state and Coconino National Forest. Without federal funds, many Forest Service employees have been furloughed and have not been able to move projects forward or help outgoing and incoming workers transition.”
The Trump Shutdown means visitors to national parks may not be able to get needed medical care.
“Bright said he explained the situation and the operator told him that resources are limited because of the government shutdown. She offered to put out a call for a ranger, Bright said, but encouraged them to make their way to the trailhead because no medical assistance could be given on the trail.”
Volunteers and local governments have had to step in as the Trump administration fails to do its basic task of maintaining our parks.
“With no indication of when the government will reopen again, Hafen said they can only hope it ends by Saturday. If that doesn’t happen, Hafen said the state of Utah and his nonprofit will have to decide which one of them will continue to pay for those services. ‘These are national treasures and they shouldn’t be managed at the whim of any kind of government dysfunction,’ Hafen said.”