Joshua Tree, more than 792,000 acres of national park nestled between Palm Springs to the south and the town of Joshua Tree to the north, will remain open during the shutdown but its popular campgrounds will close at noon Wednesday, according to the National Park Service.
In California, Yosemite National Park officials have closed the Wawona and Hodgson Meadows campgrounds, along with the Mariposa Grove of redwoods, after finding human feces and urine beside Wawona Road, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In California, tourists have been relieving themselves on the side of the roads because Yosemite's restrooms and visitor centers have been shuttered since December 22 when the shutdown began, the Los Angeles Times reported. Parks advocates are anxious visitor safety may be compromised or permanent damage may occur if the situation continues. "Regardless of what happens in Washington, the Grand Canyon will not close on our watch", said Governor Doug Ducey in a press statement released a few days before the shutdown began. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery and National Zoo are all closed because of the shutdown. Volunteers try to dispose of garbage in the Park and clean toilet facilities that are still open.
Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration was leaving parks open to visitors despite the lack of staff. It has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds to keep parks running smoothly, the Visalia Times Delta reported.
"We're deeply concerned about the threat to park resources and to visitor safety with this park closure situation", Garder said in a phone interview Monday.
Travelers can still get into the park, though officials have announced they will be limiting access along the Highway 41 corridor during peak visitation hours. Also the safety of visitors could be at risk. "There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules then I've seen in my four years living here".
Reynolds said one thing in particular that people who walk along the trails and beaches should be mindful of is taking pet waste along with them after heading out of the park. A checkpoint is set up between 9am-6pm and people will only be allowed to pass through if they have a reservation for lodging or camping in the park.
Rattlesnake Canyon will close to reduce the number of search and rescue events for rangers already spread thin because of the shutdown, the park service said.
The tour companies can likely keep this system going through the entire winter season if they need to, Watt said.
"This is not really our job", says Travis Watt of lake Yellowstone Alpen Guides, "the Park authority usually does a good Job, and we hate to see the employees without a job".