Shutdown stinks for beloved national parks

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Campgrounds at Joshua Tree closed at noon Wednesday, officials said, citing health and safety concerns over vault toilets that were near capacity.

As of January 3, 2019 the partial shutdown has been going on for almost 13 days, now making it the fourth longest in USA history.

"During the lapse in federal appropriations, Pinnacles National Park will remain accessible to visitors; however, services will be reduced as we are unable to fully staff our operations", according to a National Park Service news release issued Saturday.

Diane Regas, president and CEO of the Trust for Public Land, wrote a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, urging him to close parks to "protect the health and safety of park visitors and to protect park resources". Hikers at nearby Difficult Run, just outside the national park border, ignored a yellow police line that closed a trail.

On those rare occasions when the federal government gets shut down by political gamesmanship in the nation's capital, the places where the effects of those shutdowns can be seen most quickly and easily are America's beloved national parks.

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The man, who has not been identified, apparently slipped down Silver Apron, a large, sloping granite area above Nevada Falls, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The man is the second person to die at a national park since the shutdown began, according to reports.

Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park raised $114,000 to keep the park for open for nine days with limited service, executive director Elizabeth Fien said. The waterless restrooms, in which visitors can relieve themselves into sealed buried containers, had remained open.

"At the superintendent's discretion, parks may close grounds/areas with sensitive natural, cultural, historic, or archaeological resources vulnerable to destruction, looting, or other damage that can not be adequately protected by the excepted law enforcement staff that remain on duty", Barnum said. The man was removed from the water and received medical treatment, but he died from his injuries. "These are the things in the area that everybody loves to take advantage of, especially when you're on a holiday break".

The trash that visitors have left and is piling up could attract wildlife to populated areas, increasing the risk of risky encounters. "However, bears and other wildlife becoming habituated to human food and trash is a huge concern".

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