The National Park Service released a statement Sunday stating that it will be taking the needed steps to help pay for staffing at highly visited parks during the current partial government shutdown, by dipping into funds collected by entrance fees.
P. Daniel Smith, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, stated that the funds allocated would be used to help fund additional staff to help with restrooms maintenance, plow roads, clear trash bins and help patrol the parks. Smith recognizes that the Trump administration’s choice to keep the parks open during the budget impasse is no longer viable, and now requires more extreme measures.
During the current shutdown, National Parks have relied on the help of local communities and different non profits to help keep the parks open and functioning with the most minimal of services.
According to Director Smith, the NPS is willing to take the needed steps to ensure that the national parks remain protected, as well as accessible to the public, even if it only ensures that limited services are up and running.
In response to a letter written by congressmen from Utah pleading to look into extending funding to the national parks, Bernhardt stated, “This approach means that many of the burdens being born by local communities should be addressed by park service personnel within days.”