Our National Parks represent a global model for conservation and inspire millions of visitors annually. Yet the present government shutdown, which started on December 21st, 2018, has led to a staffing and maintenance crisis in National Parks. Damage occurring to our parks as a consequence of keeping parks open during the government shutdown is a catastrophe for public lands and wildlife.
According to Jonathan B Jarvis, who served as the 18th Director of the National Parks Service, “Leaving the parks open without these essential staff is equivalent to leaving the Smithsonian museums open without any staff to protect the priceless artefacts.”
Our National Parks are vital in that these public lands provide essential habitat for iconic threatened and endangered species. The National Parks Conservation Association, in partnership with Defenders of Wildlife, created an interactive map displaying threatened and endangered species:
Allowing parks to remain open during the shutdown reflects the Trump administration pattern of disregard for the intrinsic value of public lands and demonstrates both a lack of leadership and stewardship.