The mainstream media is doing its best to scare Americans about the government shutdown. What should be in the spotlight is how private businesses and citizens have chipped in to keep the national parks clean and open.

For example…people are dying in our National Parks because there is no government!

In the 16 days since the government shutdown began and more than 21,000 National Park Service employees were furloughed, seven visitors to national parks have died.

Three of those deaths were accidental, including that of a 14-year-old girl who fell off Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend on December 24. Four other deaths are believed to be suicides, according to Mike Litterst, the National Park Service acting chief spokesperson and chief of public affairs.

Then, there were the stories of feces and garbage piling up.

Human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other damaging behavior in fragile areas were beginning to overwhelm some of the West’s iconic national parks, as a partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty.

“It’s a free-for-all,” Dakota Snider, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, said by telephone Monday, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park that are overwhelmed.

“It’s so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I’ve seen in my four years living here,” Snider said.

However, citizen volunteers and private businesses are stepping up to help. For example, at Yosemite, visitors are taking it upon themselves to maintain the trails.

“We saw some other people picking up trash so we decided why not,” Julian Mijarez said. “We’re going to be hiking and walking and want to keep the park beautiful.”

In the past couple of days, dozens of volunteers have gone through the trails and picked up pounds of trash. The volunteer effort comes after visitors had to deal with overflowing trash cans and several bathrooms that were closed because of the impact of human waste.

Joshua Tree, which has been closed, is reopening because park staff intervened.

Park officials early Tuesday said Joshua Tree National Park would close to visitors for the duration of the shutdown, but walked that back later in the day to say the park would reopen by week’s end.

“The park has staff coming in Wednesday to start cleanup,” National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said Tuesday afternoon. “This is their top priority to get restrooms cleaned and trash picked up. We will have everything finished and access restored to the park … by the end of the week.”

Meanwhile, in Yellowstone, private businesses are using their resources to keep the park open to tourists.

[D]uring the shutdown, private businesses that operate inside the park are picking up the tab – about $7,500 hundred dollars a day to groom Yellowstone’s 300-plus miles of snow-covered roads and to keep one paved road open to cars. Xanterra Parks & Resorts, which runs the only hotels operating inside the park in winter, is paying most of that.

So clearly private citizens and businesses are self-motivated to keep our parks open during this “crisis.” Furthermore, it is a far cry from Obama’s shutdown, when closures to a memorial led wheelchair-bound elderly veterans to push aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial in defiance the closure of all of the memorials in the nation’s capital.

I would argue that if Bill Clinton was designated as the “first Black President” and Barack H. Obama was declared the “first female President”, then Trump is truly the first Libertarian President.

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