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National Parks Struggling to Deal With Human Waste, Vandals Amid Shutdown

The partial government shutdown has left America’s national parks open to the public but with little staff on duty to deal with visitors. Human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading, and other damaging human behaviors are beginning to overwhelm the little staff left at the parks. “It’s a free-for-all,” Dakota Snider, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, told the Associated Press. “There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules then I’ve seen in my four years living here,” Snider said. The shutdown has forced furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal government employees. The Trump administration left parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs, differing from shutdowns in previous administrations. “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,” said John Garder, senior budget director of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association. “We’re concerned there’ll be impacts to visitors’ safety.”