Lord of the pit toilet flies by @BloggersRUs

Lord of the pit toilet flies

by Tom Sullivan

Modified image via RockyLIvingstone at DailyKos.

America's worst idea is trashing America's best one. In the second week of sitting president Donald Trump's partial government shutdown, the country's national parks have become a free-for-all: human feces, overflowing trash receptacles, congested roadways, and fights over camping spots. The shutdown has left Yosemite National Park in the California Sierras "a stinking mess," reports CNN:

Kristen Brengel, vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the shutdown not only hurts the parks but also surrounding communities that rely on an estimated $18 million a day from tourism.
“It’s so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I’ve seen in my four years living here,” said Dakota Snider, 24, a resident worker in Yosemite Valley. Rules are so pre-Trump:
Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs, said John Garder, the senior budget director of the not-for-profit National Parks Conservation Association.

“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 said. “We’re concerned there’ll be impacts to visitors’ safety.”

Garder added: “It’s really a nightmare scenario.”

Hetch Hetchy and Mariposa Grove are now closed due to lack of restrooms and resulting impacts from human waste. People entering closed areas are being cited. https://t.co/OXlp1YQkGO

— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) December 30, 2018
Campgrounds at Joshua Tree National Park east of Los Angeles close at noon Wednesday (today) for the same reason: public health and safety. News agencies report volunteers, concessionaires, and local businesses near several parks are attempting to cope with the problem as best they can:
“Once those port-a-potties fill up, there’s no amount of cleaning that will save them,” said Sabra Purdy, who along with her husband, Seth, owns the rock-climbing guide service Cliffhanger Guides in the town of Joshua Tree. “At that point, I think I’m going to have to tap out.”


“It’s not quite ‘Lord of the Flies’ yet,” said Bryan Min, 30, who traveled to Joshua Tree with friends from Orange County and is camping outside the park. “Who knows how it’ll be tonight?”

Since most roads through Wyoming's Yellowstone close in November, the shutdown's impact there is less than in other parks. Nonetheless, businesses that rely on Yellowstone winter tourism are, in addition to hauling trash, bearing the costs of "grooming roads both within the Park and plowing the highway between the North Entrance and Cooke City," reports Kevin Reichard at Yellowstone Insider.

The Trump Age was a nightmare scenario long before the shutdown. The man has never run a public institution, only a family business with a string of failures bailed out by his father and then by Russian oligarchs. The only thing Trump knows, sort of, is real estate development. His history in real estate is why the idea of building a border wall is an obsession. It is the only tool in his toolbox that allows him to create rather than demolish.

Also closing on Wednesday: Smithsonian Institution Museums and the National Zoo.