Muslim Youths Clean National Parks As Government Shutdown Continues

10 January, 2019, 14:15 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Mark Ralston  AFP  Getty Images

Members of a Muslim youth group collected trash and cleaned up national parks around the USA on Saturday and Sunday in an effort to assuage the damage done amid the government shutdown.

While there are questions about the legality of using visitor fees to maintain park operations, the approach announced Sunday was included previously in a shutdown contingency plan for the agency.

Some national parks are closed because of the shutdown, but others remain open with limited services provided by the federal government, states and private organizations.

Under a memorandum signed Saturday by the Interior Department's acting secretary, David Bernhardt, and obtained by The Washington Post, park managers will be permitted to bring on staff to clean restrooms, haul trash, patrol the parks and areas that have been shut during the budget impasse.

A 42-year-old woman from Texas, who was hiking with her husband and three children, was also struck and killed by a falling tree in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on December 27.

As national parks have remained open yet understaffed over the past two weeks, Purdy and dozens of others across the country have volunteered to fill in for the missing workers. Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum told The Washington Post on Sunday the move could likely violate the law. "This is not how a rational president behaves, and the Natural Resources Committee will demand answers about whether these moves are legally justified".

"I've been masquerading as a park service janitor for the last 16 days along with many, many other people", she said.

Amidst all of the destruction and despair that is ravaging numerous national parks, the Joshua Tree local community is truly showing exemplary support and taking matters into their own hands.

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After consultation with the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of the Interior, it has been determined that these funds can and should be used to provide immediate assistance and services to highly visited parks during the lapse in appropriations.

The duty is usually assigned to employees of the park. He added that, on average, six people die each week in parks across the country.

The funds would normally be used for special projects at the parks, according to National Park Service Deputy Director Daniel Smith. "The longer we kick the can down the road, the more it will cost", Dabbs said.

She said it was especially concerning given the fact that many of these parks have already lost a significant amount of park fee money - sometimes in the millions of dollars - by not collecting fees over the holiday season, when many of them have increased visitors.

Over the weekend, Trump threatened to escalate the situation by using his presidential powers to declare a national emergency in an apparent bid to bypass Congress to secure funding for his border wall.

The news of the National Park Service's decision brought some relief to his wife.

Some parks, including those in Utah, are littered with garbage with restrooms locked and roads blocked because of piling snow.

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