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Insights/Opinion
Rising temperatures and more frequent wildfires in Alaskan national parks could affect caribou's habitat and winter food sources. Zak Richter / NPS

To Preserve National Parks in a Warming World, Reconnect Fragmented Public Lands

By Stephen Nash

The Trump administration's decision to keep many U.S. national parks open during the current federal government shutdown, with few or no staff, spotlights how popular and how vulnerable these unique places are.

Some states, such as Utah and Arizona, have spent heavily to keep parks open rather than lose tourist revenues. Unfortunately, without rangers to enforce rules, some visitors have strewn garbage and vandalized scenic areas.

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Volunteer Alexandra Degen cleans a restroom at Joshua Tree National Park on Jan. 4 in Joshua Tree National Park, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Volunteers Protect Our National Parks During Shutdown

As the partial government shutdown drags on, volunteers across the country are rolling up their sleeves to preserve our beloved national parks.

At Joshua Tree National Park—which nearly closed due to a buildup of trash, human waste and vandalism—a team of volunteers have helped clean the park's overflowing toilets and dumpsters on just about every day of the government impasse, Outside Online reported.

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A sign placed by staff is posted on a temporary barricade at a closed campground at Joshua Tree National Park on Jan. 4 in Joshua Tree National Park. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Joshua Tree National Park Will Stay Open After All

Joshua Tree National Park will not shut its gates after all as it works to recover from the effects of the ongoing government shutdown, the park announced Wednesday.

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PHOTOSTOCK-ISRAEL / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Joshua Tree Closes Temporarily to Repair Damage Caused During Shutdown

The government shutdown, now well into its third week, has taken a major toll on many iconic national parks, which have remained open to the public but severely understaffed. Now that toll is forcing one of them—Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California—to temporarily close its gates.

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Sunrise over the grassy Assateague dunes in Assateague, Maryland. Eric B. Walker / Flickr

What the Government Shutdown Means for Our Coasts and Ocean

By Pete Stauffer

The partial shutdown of the federal government reached its 16th day on Monday with no immediate resolution in sight. With border security politics dominating the headlines, Republican and Democrat lawmakers remained locked in a stalemate while President Trump signaled a willingness to keep the government shut down for months or even years. The upshot is that dozens of federal agencies remain closed or operating at minimum capacity until the gridlock in DC is resolved.

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Mario Tama / Getty Images

As Shutdown Drags on, National Parks Will Use Entrance Fees to Take Out Trash

As the government shutdown continues into a third week, the Interior Department has made the controversial and unprecedented decision to use visitor fees collected at national parks to help deal with the maintenance and safety issues that have emerged as iconic public lands remained open but understaffed when the government failed to pass a budget in December, The Washington Post reported.

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Daniel Viñé Garcia / Moment / Getty Images

5 Iconic National Parks Face 'Nightmare Scenario' Following Gov't Shutdown

One-and-a-half-weeks in, the government shutdown is already taking a toll on some of country's most iconic national parks. The parks have remained largely open to the public despite the fact that most of the rangers and other support staff who maintain them are among the hundreds of thousands of government workers now on furlough, and the unsupervised access has led to a buildup of trash and a break-down in visitor behavior, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

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The Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky. TVA

Shutdown, Drilling and Coal: The Trump Administration’s Holiday Gifts to the World

By Tara Lohan

President Trump didn't exactly lie low over the holidays.

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A sign is displayed at the National Archives building that is closed because of a U.S. government shutdown in Washington, DC, on Dec. 22. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP / Getty Images

EPA Runs Out of Funds as Government Shutdown Drags On

The partial government shutdown that began nearly a week ago is likely to drag into the New Year, CNN reported Friday. The House and Senate both met only briefly on Thursday and made no progress towards resolving the impasse between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump over $5 billion in spending for his proposed border wall.

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