At California's Yosemite National Park, for example, trash and human waste are piling up, as restrooms are overused with few employees to maintain them.
At the Washington Monument, there are overflowing garbage cans the National Parks Service cannot empty.
Due to heavy snowfall on 12/31/2018, the park road is closed at the visitor center.
The National Archives is closed as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. If there is any sign of brands taking stands in the name of supporting our national parks during a time of duress, now would be the time to act as this shutdown shows no sign of ending anytime soon. Friends of Joshua Tree has also partnered up with local residents to organize drives to provide toilet paper for the park.
Unlike some previous government shutdowns, in which national parks closed entirely, gates have remained opened under the Trump administration, though parks are severely understaffed. Calley Cederlof at the Visalia Times-Delta reports that unsanitary conditions have led authorities to close areas of Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks. Visitors are encouraged to stop and use restroom facilities in the gateway communities before entering the park. Most of the folks in the park, 99 percent, are doing just what they need to do, but with this volume of people we have in the park, traffic is a problem, parking is a problem, I've heard of some vandalism - I haven't seen any. Also the safety of visitors could be at risk.
"It's so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I've seen in my four years living here", Dakota Snider, who works at Yosemite, told the Associated Press. "A nightmare scenario", he says.
Dozens of volunteers have stepped in to help clean bathrooms and get rid of trash, including John Lauretig, a retired law enforcement ranger at the park and executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Joshua Tree National Park.
Park rangers and other staffers are among the more than 380,000 federal employees furloughed during the shutdown that is in its 12th day.
And Joshua Tree isn't alone in its issues, or its decision to close campgrounds.
The park said Wednesday that rangers will staff a checkpoint from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m.at the south entrance reached via Highway 41 and only those with lodging or camping reservations in the park will be allowed to proceed.
They had unleashed their dogs and let then run freely in an area rich with bears and other wildlife, and were scattering bags of garbage along the roads, Mr Snider said.
In Yellowstone National Park private tour companies have picked up some of the maintenance normally done by federal workers. "But it's something we can handle".