The recent government shutdown has been the longest in American history, despite a short-term agreement to restore the government until mid-February, it is uncertain if the shutdown will continue afterwards.  The ripple effect of its damage throughout the country has been hard felt. Especially, the terrible impact it’s had on the national parks.

Reports of damage and misuse throughout nationally protected areas is extremely disheartening and something that can be easily avoided. Here is a list of ways that you can help

  1. Volunteer your time – Volunteering will begin as soon as possible. It  can only take place with a government official, such as a park ranger, overseeing the help. Learn how you can sign up to volunteer and find areas near you from our park list page.
  2. If you’re not registered to volunteer – avoid visiting a National Park or other NPS location while things get back to normal. Most of these areas do not have rangers or other workers ensuring the areas stay protected. They are essentially vacant and open to misuse. If possible, do not visit these areas, rather, visit a state or local park. All of which offer beautiful landscapes and often historical areas.
  3. If you insist on visiting a national park or other NPS area follow the rules of the park. Always remember to leash your pets, its for their safety and the safety of the wildlife within the park. Its important to properly dispose of your waste. If park rangers are still not in the area, collect and remove all of your waste, this includes your dogs poop, as well as your own. Practice Leave No Trace principles, for more about them read our article.
  4. If you see something illegal, say something, by reporting the abuse to your local law enforcement agency.
  5. Donate to the National Park Foundation. We’re also currently donating 100% of profits from certain National Park Paw items to the National Park Foundation. Learn more about donating to the NPF here.

You can read the official NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CONTINGENCY PLAN of 2019 here

Its extremely important that we keep stewardship of these lands with or without a government shutdown. This helps to ensure the protection of these special ecosystems, for future generations to explore and enjoy.

Help us raise money for the National Park Foundation by visiting our shop now, or by visiting the NPF directly

More resources about the government shutdown

National Park Foundation

Parks Project

National Parks Conservation Association