Yitka Winn and Steve Hertzfeld October 16, 2013 TWEET COMMENTS 4

Don't Jump That Barrier! - Page 2

In Death Valley National Park, she reports, “Visitors are defecating on the ground immediately adjacent to locked public restrooms.” Now that Park Service employees have been permitted to return to work, the unpleasant task of cleaning up these messes falls to them.

In an accompanying blog post, Marquis adds, "In addition to vandalizing park property, several visitors have chosen to leave choice written messages directed at the staff, including: ‘F*** you. This is my park. I pay taxes.’ Or ‘I peed in your parking lot you federal government bastards.’”

Her film illuminates how, over the course of the past few weeks, many frustrated recreationists have misdirected their anger about the federal shutdown. The film reminds viewers not to lash out at the Park Service itself—nor at the beautiful, vulnerable lands it works so hard to protect. Without staff to perform essential functions in the parks, or even to collect the fees to offset these costs, it is understandable that parks needed to remain temporarily closed.

A report by the non-partisan Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) estimates the Park Service’s lost revenue over the first 10 days of shutdown at $450,000. “The only thing that would be crazier than shutting down America’s national parks would be for Congress to allow wide open access to the parks without NPS’s dedicated and hardworking employees in place to protect the sites,” says Chair Maureen Finnerty. “By essentially enabling looting, poaching and vandalism, Congress would be taking what is already a dark episode in the history of our national parks and making it worse, including the theft or destruction of national treasures of incalculable value.”

Despite what Woody Guthrie says, National Parks belong to the federal government. We pay taxes—and, often, entrance fees—so that these lands are properly managed for the benefit of the greater good. The people who work in the parks are just as passionate as you are about trails. Respect them by observing park closures and direct your feedback toward those who denied the Park Service operating funds in the first place.


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