While national parks are hard hit during the government shutdown, dozens of volunteers are spending hours tidying and maintaining the protected grounds.
Ken Yager is the founder of Yosemite Facelift, a nonprofit that arranges annual cleanups of Yosemite National Park in California at the end of summer.
Because parks have largely remained open, but unsupervised, for the last several days, Yager and his team decided to organize volunteers to keep Yosemite National Park in order.
“There’s a lot of people that live in the area that quietly go and take care of all this stuff, and for me it was really easy because I have access to all these litter sticks and trash bags and supplies,” Yager told InsideEdition.com. “We’re just making sure it’s available to everyone who wants to go out and clean up some of this stuff.”
Every morning, he and a paid member of his team park their cargo trailer outside the grounds and lend their supplies to individuals or groups who want to volunteer.
“There are a lot of us who were concerned about so many people in the park and the lack of park service infrastructure,” Yager explained. “We’re just trying to maintain our beautiful parks until we get our beloved park services back.”
He explained that he’s seen several groups picking up trash in the last several days, and his group alone often consists of 20 to 30 people.
Yager said animals were going through trash that hadn't been picked up, and people were leaving behind toilet paper in the woods because public bathrooms are locked.
“It’s just slightly more offensive because it’s a clean natural park,” Yager said. “It’s a beautiful time of year to visit the park now. Enjoy the park, but if you bring a bunch of stuff in there, bring it out. Help us out a little bit.”