The current partial government shutdown under the Trump administration has resulted in a number of national parks either closing or becoming barely operational. One of the primary reasons behind the sudden closures is the amount of human waste piling up in these parks. Yes, we’re talking about actual human poop here.
On Wednesday, the campgrounds at Joshua Tree National Park were the latest to close over health and safety concerns as their toilets have reached near full capacity. "Once those port-a-potties fill up, there’s no amount of cleaning that will save them," Sabra Purdy, owner of the rock-climbing guide service Cliffhanger Guides located in Joshua Tree, told the Washington Post. "At that point, I think I’m going to have to tap out."
Yosemite National Park is limiting its visitors during peak hours to those who have reservations. Despite laying out a contingency plan to keep a small number of people on payroll, the park is facing its own struggles to keep up with maintenance as their remaining employees tend to other tasks. Quartz estimates that "roughly 27 tons of garbage" has been brought to Yosemite in the 12 days since the government shutdown began.
Yosemite Valley resident Dakota Snider described the scene in her backyard as a "free-for-all," telling the Associated Press, "It's so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I’ve seen in my four years living here." In addition to their piling poop problem, a quarter of the federal government is without a paycheck and out of a job, according to CNN. Even though Trump claims that many workers have advised him to "stay out until you get the funding for the wall," there will come a point where these supposed supporters would prefer to pay their bills on time, instead of waiting it out on funding for a wall.