Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Muslim youth group collects trash at national parks during government shutdown

Dem: Interior's New Plan To Use Entrance Fees To Operate Parks 'Likely' Illegal The National Parks Services Makes 'Extraordinary' Move to Keep Parks Open Amid Government Shutdown
Kenny Thornton | 10 January, 2019, 14:17

He added that, on average, six people die each week in parks across the country. There have been at least seven deaths in national parks since the start of the shutdown as the parks remain open and unstaffed, and many parks are dealing with health and safety issues surrounding restroom facilities.

P. Daniel Smith, deputy director of the service, said in a statement Sunday that the money would be used to bring in staff to maintain restrooms, clean up trash and patrol the parks.

"I am grateful for the quick response to our letter and the extraordinary steps the Department is taking to ensure our Utah Parks are protected and open for visitors", U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart said in a statement. The National Park Service's to-do list has grown to almost $12 billion. "For those national parks that don't collect fees, they will now be in the position of competing for the same inadequate pot of money to protect their resources and visitors".

"This will not open up the parks in any safe, effective manner for tourists to have a safe and enjoyable experience", she said.

If Shenandoah National Park takes part in the plan, the trust says it will still cover the cleaning cost of port-a-potties. Although, the parks are not expected to fully open. Since many of these travelers had already planned their wintery expeditions months in advance, local tour guide services, snow mobile rentals, and park resorts volunteered to split the costs of paying park rangers to keep bathrooms and park lands clean.

The Park Service is one of several agencies affected by the partial government shutdown, which headed into its third week over the weekend.

The first thing Purdy's husband and business co-owner Seth Zaharias did the morning after the partial government shutdown began on December 22, was go to Walmart and spend $100 on toilet paper.

The duty is usually assigned to employees of the park.

North Korea's Kim Jong-un Reportedly Leaves Beijing by Personal Train
Some analysts say China could use its cooperation on the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the U.S. trade talks. Details of his visit weren't released, but Yonhap said Kim met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Another group of civilians is maintaining Yosemite National Park. "I knew a disaster was coming and I wasn't going to let the federal government ruin my home", he said.

Members of the group were joined by additional volunteers. "They're something we all appreciate", said Alleyn Harned, who organized the cleanup effort.

"We picked up the trash to bring to the trash cans", Underwood said.

In one day alone, Purdy said volunteers collectively hauled out about 4,000 pounds of trash.

"The national parks are a treasure". So we are looking into food support.

Realistically though, despite almost $11,000 in donations to support their efforts, Zaharias estimated that volunteers can only sustain the amount of time and resources that they are pouring in for a few more weeks. From the Everglades National Park in Florida to Joshua Tree in California, the Cuyahoga Valley in OH and other parks across the nation the energetic Muslim youths spent their spare time sweeping the grounds, emptying garbage cans and picking up litter.

If it is, she hopes that National Park Service janitors will be some of the first staffers to come back to work.

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