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A lack of staff due to the government shutdown has forced some national parks to close campgrounds and restrict visits to hundreds of acres. Campsites have also closed at Joshua Tree National Park in California after portaloos filled up.

Visitors to Joshua Tree National Park may want to re-think their plans this week as the park will close down all of its campgrounds on January 2 due to the government shutdown.

"Areas within the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park are also closed". Without access to restrooms, some park visitors are relieving themselves outside, but they aren't following the park services' recommendation to pack and carry out or bury their solid waste. Among the agencies hit hardest by the shutdown is the National Parks Service, which maintains dozens of natural landmarks across the country - including the National Mall.

Towns like these across the US are financially dependent on businesses, from equipment rental services to, of course, locally-owned hotels and restaurants, most of which largely cater to national park visitors.

It closed some campgrounds on Wednesday because outdoor toilets, which can not be emptied due to a lack of staffing, have reached capacity, creating a potential health hazard.

Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado said they were closing restrooms and locking up trash bins in many locations. And in fairness, most visitors to the national parks have been respectful. Parks advocates are anxious visitor safety may be compromised or permanent damage may occur if the situation continues.

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Outside the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Mr Clint Woods and his family stood in line waiting for a guided tour with other visitors who were locked out of more popular venues.

"I went around the barricades but didn't know whether or not I could get past it, so I stopped and got out of the vehicle and looked at the sign that said the gates were closed", she said. Because in the Winter nearly all the roads within the Park are closed, can attractions most of the visitors like the Grand Canyon only with the help of Guides to visit. "A nightmare scenario", he says.

Yosemite Valley resident Dakota Snider said crowds were driving into the park to take advantage of free admission.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced on January 2 that it will be "fully closed" from 6 p.m. local time due to unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and will likely remain closed for the duration of the government shutdown.

According to park superintendent David Smith, local businesses, volunteer groups and tribal members had turned out to assist in keeping the park clean.

"Park service volunteers are also by federal law not allowed in the same way that park staff is not allowed to work in the park", Rivera Murdock told Denver's 9News. Previous administrations have closed the parks during shutdowns, The Associated Press reported.


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