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National Parks Get Some Volunteer Love During Government Shutdown

With National Park Service employees furloughed and trash mounting, cleaning up “helped me feel like I was doing as much as I could,” said one volunteer.
Ahmadiyya volunteers pick up trash in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
Ahmadiyya volunteers pick up trash in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association

Last week, Washington, D.C. resident Brittany Price saw a Facebook post about trash piling up at Yosemite National Park, due to the partial U.S. government shutdown, which has dragged into a third week. About one-third of National Park Service sites are completely closed (such as presidential homes under lock and key), but others remain open or partly open. Since most NPS personnel are furloughed, many national parks around the country lack the staff to clean up litter, prevent vandalization, and keep visitors safe.

“I thought about [the Facebook post] probably for the rest of the day, and felt powerless with what to do,” said Price, a federal contractor who is still working but knows people who are not, or who are working without pay.