Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Volunteers help keep Shenandoah Nat'l. Park clean during shutdown

Volunteers help keep Shenandoah Nat'l. Park clean during shutdown

Under a memorandum signed Saturday by the Interior Department's acting secretary, David Bernhardt, and obtained by The Washington Post, park managers will be permitted to bring on staff to clean restrooms, haul trash, patrol the parks and areas that have been shut during the budget impasse.

Bhatti told CNN that if the shutdown continues, they will be looking for other national parks to help clear and for more ways they can help community members affected by the shutdown.

As the lapse in appropriations continues, it has become clear that highly visited parks with limited staff have urgent needs that can not be addressed exclusively through the generosity of our partners.

But though tragic on their own, the tally of deaths is not out of the ordinary for the expansive National Park Service, which sees an average of six deaths per week, Litterst said.

Some national parks are closed because of the shutdown, but others remain open with limited services provided by the federal government, states and private organizations.

Though, this new order is already being criticized.

"Erica says that she would like to challenge other hikers to take one day off from getting in miles and impressive vista pics and instead, give back by grabbing a trash bag, heading to the park and collecting some litter!"

"This will not open up the parks in any safe, effective manner for tourists to have a safe and enjoyable experience", she said. Either way, this president is only happy as long as the American people pay for his every whim whenever it suits him.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a New Mexico Democrat and new chairman of the House Resources Committee, was quoted in the Washington Post questioning the legality of using the maintenance funds for operations.

So far, shutdown-related issues at national parks have mainly had to do with cleanliness and sanitation. According to official estimates, as many as 16,000 of the Park Service's 20,000-person winter workforce are furloughed.

Fees collected at parks are supposed to enhance the visitor experience, which can include films about a site's resources and restoration projects that are aimed at activities such as hunting, fishing and photography. NPS Deputy Director Smith said the decision to fund park operations with visitor fees will provide more staffing at the parks that need it most. The agency said previously that it would seek to keep parks "as accessible as possible" during the funding lapse.

"Whether it's trails or roads, waterlines or wastewater systems, there is a lot that needs fixing".

"We aren't releasing more detail because the incident remains under investigation, which is taking longer than usual because of the shutdown", Munoz said.

"Since [the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act's] original passage, it's always been interpreted by the Park Service as not available for operations", Jarvis said, according to The Hill.

The move comes just days after Utah's four congressmen pressed the Trump administration to start treating national park closures as a safety emergency.

Unlike most previous government shutdowns, the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to keep parks open despite concerns from groups that it leaves national treasures vulnerable to vandalism and creates a unsafe environment for visitors.

Democratic lawmakers denounced the unprecedented move by the administration and said it may not pass legal muster.

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