ASHFORD, Wash. – Strewn garbage, overflowing toilets: sights many hope are not duplicated at Washington state’s Mount Rainier National Park.
At some of the west coast's most beloved national parks, the partial government shutdown drags into day eleven and signs of neglect have become evident.
The gate is open at Mount Rainier National Park, but officials warn everyone who cross the threshold: you’re doing so at your own risk.
The partial government shutdown means not only are most customer services not available, park officials insist they won’t be able to respond during an emergency.
For Mauri Jones’ family from Puyallup, the long winter break meant getting her kids out of the house to do anything.
“We just needed to get out to be honest with you,” she said.
Jones and dozens more headed to Mount Rainier despite a partial government shutdown.
“I guess my concern was there might not be as many people up here to save us if something happened,” she said, “But we did our research and checked the weather.”
Because of the furloughs, sand trucks and snow plows won’t be able to keep up if more winter weather falls – plus garbage and restrooms at the park could end up being locked up.
In California some closures there meant parking headaches, bathroom lockouts and quickly-filling garbage cans. The situation there is leading some volunteers to maintain facilities as best they can on their own.
“I’m hoping the federal government gets it together and comes up with an agreement here shortly,” said one volunteer.
Officials at Mount Rainier closed access to some snowplay areas, but there is something of a silver lining for folks. As long as park rangers abandon the gates, paying the $30 entrance fee during the partial government shutdown remains impossible.