NATIONAL PARKS ARE America’s public lands, but right now they’re America’s trashcans.
That’s because the U.S. federal government, embattled over funding for a border wall, has shut down, leaving national parks open and largely unattended. Since the shutdown began, brimming trashcans, overflowing toilets, and trespassing has been reported at many parks locations.
“Never before have I seen the federal government tempt fate in national parks the way we are today,” says Diane Regas, president of the Trust for Public Land. “It’s not about what has happened already. It’s about what could happen if you don’t have the appropriate staffing.”
Many of us treat our public places with little respect. We leave trash for someone else to pick up. We run our dirt bikes and jeeps across the land. We demand public lands be managed so we have elk to shoot, feral horses to photograph, cattle to graze, and screw the native species.