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Analysis | Nobody seems to know who made the decision to keep NPs open during shutdown

think politics in Washington couldn’t get more absurd? Well, how’s this for a doozy: no one seems to actually know why the national parks are open right now or who is responsible for the decision to keep them open. And that’s after seven people have reportedly died in them during the shutdown.

To recap, counter to previous practice, most of the big-name parks have been kept open during the current federal government shutdown. But 80 percent of park service employees have been furloughed, leaving our natural treasures protected by a skeleton crew of park police and other first responders. No one is collecting entry fees, no one is guiding tourists, no one is clearing snow or plowing the roads, and no one is pumping out pit toilets, which have reportedly begun overflowing. Trash is being cleared only by a few volunteer organizations, in only a few popular locations.

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