People around the country have been devastated by how national parks and park staff are suffering because of the partial government shutdown. Here are a few ways you can help.
1. Speak up.
- Tell acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt: National parks should close until the government fully reopens.
2. Volunteer to help clean up when parks reopen.
NPCA is maintaining a database of volunteers to help clean up the parks after they reopen. Sign up, and we will notify you of upcoming opportunities.
3. Donate to local aid organizations.
Many federal workers, including Park Service staff, were living indefinitely without paychecks and hurting financially, and government employees are restricted on the types of aid they are permitted to accept from friends groups and partners.
Some friends groups are providing food, thank-you notes and other forms of support to Park Service staff. Search for the friends groups associated with the parks near you to see if there are opportunities to help.
Check local listservs and social media groups to learn about efforts to help furloughed employees and other people who are suffering financially from the shutdown. Some communities are collecting gift cards and organizing grocery distributions for people in need.
4. Share your park-related #ShutdownStories with us on social media.
We’re helping to raise awareness about the effects the shutdown is having on people. If you are (or know of) a member of a park partner group, local business owner, contractor, outfitter, park visitor or other person who has been affected by the government shutdown, we want to hear your story. Comment on our Twitter post or Facebook post or send us a direct message on either platform.
5. Be a good park steward.
We recommend waiting until parks are fully reopened before visiting them. But if you do go, be responsible. Pack out your trash. Bring reusable water bottles and bags. Respect park resources and leave everything as you found it. Set a good example for others. And be extremely mindful of your safety and the safety of others. This blog by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics shares important tips to keep in mind while park staff are furloughed.
6. Consider visiting a state park.
These public lands are also protected for your enjoyment and are not affected by the government shutdown. Many of these parks are adjacent to national parks, allowing you to contribute to local economies in gateway communities that rely on tourism.
Our hearts are with all the federal workers, contractors, small business owners and community members affected by this irresponsible and unnecessary political impasse. Thank you for doing what you can to pitch in and help.