President Trump's extended government shutdown is turning Yosemite Park into a an open sewer.
When Trump triggered a government shutdown last month by refusing to sing any budget bill that did not include money for a border wall, some 380,000 individuals who work at national parks were told to stay home. That labor shortage means that public restrooms have been closed and garbage collection has been suspended in parks like Yosemite, where people have begun leaving mass amounts of garbage and human excrement out in the open.
"It's so heartbreaking," Dakota Snider - a 24-year-old Yosemite Valley resident - told Associated Press. "There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I’ve seen in my four years living here."
And aside from being gross, turning national parks into cesspits is also dangerous.
"With restrooms closed, some visitors are opting to deposit their waste in natural areas adjacent to high-traffic areas, which creates a health hazard for other visitors,"National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz told LA Times.
Similar issues abound at the Joshua Tree National Park, where things have become so bad, the National Park Services says the site will be forced to close.
"The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity. In addition, human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resources are becoming a problem," the NPS said in a statement obtained by the San Bernardino Sun.
Illegal logging is also taking place at some sites, according to John Garder - Senior Budget Director of the National Parks Conservation Association, who says these illegal activities and the accumulation of human waste could do irreversible damage to the parks.
"We're afraid that we’re going to start seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to historic and other cultural artifacts," Garder told AP. "We're concerned there'll be impacts to visitors' safety."
So, not only has Trump implemented a government shutdown to fund an expensive and ineffectual project, but he's also jeopardizing the integrity of America's cherished parks in the process.