The government shutdown affects many different groups of people in the United States, and specifically, the National Parks. As the government cannot properly function, any state or government paid employee no longer receives compensation for their work. This includes TSA agents, military personnel, and park rangers. An estimated 80,000 employees are expected to report for work without pay. There are some areas that have remained closed and locked, specifically areas with keys; these include museums, presidential homes, and any type of cultural site. Many National Parks have remained open, although the employee and visitor ratio is at an all-time low. Many of the parks have used the funding to remain open, although this money was allocated towards other projects such as restorations and park programs.
The effects of the government shut down were put into perspective on social media. Government employees posted their $0.00 pay stub on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Some of these individuals may have relied on that income to pay their mortgage, phone bills, or tuition. In the cases when the National Parks remain open, it is often difficult to access due to unpaved roads and overflowing toilets/garbage cans. There is an excess of trash everywhere because there aren't paid employees to monitor the garbage. There are also several parks that had initially opened, but after some setbacks have decided to close. Mount Rainier, for example, is a National Park in Washington that had to close due to vehicle traffic. Joshua Tree is another National Park located in Southern California, and because of the government shutdown, they experienced severe vandalism, illegal camping/driving, and excessive amounts of human waste. As a direct result of this, the superintendent was forced to temporarily close the park.
Additionally, these effects have been evident across Washington D.C., in areas like the National Mall and the Washington Monument. Trash is overflowing the garbage cans and is contaminating the streets, which reflects poorly on the image of D.C. Also, all of the libraries in the D.C. area are scheduled to close due to the government shutdown. Public toilet facilities, such as porta-potties, have overflown due to lack of maintenance.
The government shutdown has had financial, social, and environmental repercussions, which has reduced the quality of life for many Americans. The National Parks are suffering due to the lack of funding and employees in the area. In the instances where a park ranger is present to monitor, he/she isn't getting paid for their time. In other cases, there is an overflow of garbage that is taking over the streets. If the National Park Service wants to seek improvement, the first place to start would be in our nation's capital, Washington D.C. Once the government returns to proper function, the parks will return to normalcy.