Why Volunteers Were Blocked From Cleaning a National Park During the Shutdown | NowThis

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These volunteers were told they have to stop cleaning up Shiloh National Military Park during the government shutdown.
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Park Ranger: I’m not trying to argue with you. I’m just saying I need you to stop, please.

[Location ID: Shiloh National Military Park, TN]
Park Ranger: The roadway’s open. The park is open. All the grounds and the facilities are closed.
Volunteer: So no one can walk on the grass?
Park Ranger: Yeah, you can walk on the grass. The grounds are open. The facilities are closed.
Volunteer: So what are violating right now?
Park Ranger: I understand what yall are trying to do. I mean —
Volunteer: No, I’m just asking what are we violating right now?
Park Ranger: Y’all are acting as volunteers.
Volunteer: Right.
Park Ranger: And you’re not volunteers right now.
Volunteer: Well, actually we are by the definition of the word.
Park Ranger: Well, I understand what you’re saying. But what I’m saying is there’s forms that have to be filled out.
Volunteer: We get that, but the government’s shut down.

The longest government shutdown of all time has national parks across the country overflowing with trash.

Volunteer: I am trying to work with you. I just don’t understand if the grounds are open, we’re allowed to walk on the grass, then what is it hurting us? You’re picking up brush and —
Park Ranger: You’re doing labor and you’re not a volunteer. I mean like I said, I would love to sign you up as volunteers. As soon as the volunteer coordinator gets back on the park, they’ll sign you up and they’ll take all the help you can give us. [...]
Park Ranger: I’m not trying to argue with you. I’m just saying I need you to stop, please. [Silence] And Monday morning, when the chief gets here you can speak with him. Maybe y’all can work out something. I don’t know. I’m the low man.
Volunteer: I get that.
Volunteer: Well, alrighty. It appears our hands are a little bit tied.

“While we appreciate that people want to help, there are major safety hazards and liability issues with volunteering at parks where park staff aren’t present and safety measures aren’t being properly followed. This is also not the public’s burden to bear. It is the responsibility of the administration and Congress to fully fund the government and reopen our parks with adequate staff.” - Emily Douce and John Garder Budget & Appropriations, Government Affairs

NowThis did not immediately receive a response from the park

Volunteer: So the federal government is stopping us from cleaning up the parks due to safety concerns and liability concerns because of the government shutdown. [...] The bureaucratic BS that’s happening right now.
Volunteer: Thank you, we’ll leave.
Park Ranger: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Conservation groups have called on Trump to close all national parks as has been done during previous government shutdowns.

‘We have a responsibility to protect all of our parks from the irreparable and worsening damage that’s occurring… Please do the right thing and close our national parks until full funding for staff is available.’ — Diane Regas, President & CEO, The Trust for Public Land

#GovernmentShutdown #NationakPark #Volunteering #Politics #Nature

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