During the longest government shutdown in US history, national parks were left open with little or no staff. The national parks around our beautiful country are extremely special to many. However, during the shutdown, many parks were treated poorly. Trash was left in overflowing trash cans, graffiti-covered rocks, and people blazed their own trails on sensitive grounds. At Joshua Tree National park, people cut down the trees that give the park the name in order to create their own roads.
While this makes us sad and angry, we know that there were more people visiting the parks respectfully than there were destroying these beautiful lands. However, the damage was done and recovery will take years. One article from The Guardian mentions that it may take Joshua Tree 200 to 300 years to recover.
It breaks our hearts to know that people treat these beautiful lands like this, but now we all have the chance of outshining that bad behavior by helping the parks! At TeaZen®, we care deeply about the environment and our national parks. We want to spread the word about helping them and what you can do to bring them back to their former glory. There are so many reasons why the national parks need to be protected and why they are important to this country. In this blog, we are going to talk about national parks during government shutdowns, how you can help, and why it is so important to protect the parks.
Why Were They Left Open
One question on everyone’s mind is why national parks were left open during the shutdown in the first place. If they were closed, none of these sad occurrences would have happened. During a shutdown in 2013, the Obama administration decided to close the parks and got a lot of backlash. There were also complaints from those towns surrounding national parks that depend on park tourism to bring in more revenue. Because the Obama administration received such scrutiny, the Trump administration felt pressured to keep the parks open as long as possible. Sadly, people took advantage of this and did not show care for the parks.
Now that you know why the parks were left open, let’s talk about how we can help now.
How You Can Help
After the government shutdown and future government shutdown, park staff makes their way through these areas to assess the damage and figure out what needs to be done to restore the national parks. There are different ways that you can help during and after a government shutdown.
If you decide to visit a national park during a shutdown, please be respectful and leave no trace. Clean up after yourself, throw trash away, and make sure that you leave the park better than you found it. If everyone did this when they came to visit the national parks across the country during the shutdown, the damage would have been minimal. Don’t travel onto lands that are restricted, stick to the main roads and trails. It is also important that you do not vandalize the land in any way. Don’t cut down trees, don’t create your own roads or paths, and don’t do anything to cause damage to these natural areas.
If you waited patiently to visit your favorite national park until after the government shutdown, they could still use your help! The National Parks Foundation mentions a few ways that you could help out the parks during this time. The simplest way is to donate. The money that is donated will go to the parks that need it the most and help get them restored and cleaned up. If you want to do more than just donate, you can sign up to volunteer. Once parks reopen after the shutdown, parks officials will be able to organize volunteer efforts that you can be a part of.
While there are a few bad seeds out there who vandalized the parks and left them in bad shape, we know that most people care about the parks and want to help keep these natural areas beautiful and in great shape. Hopefully, these tips helped you learn more about how you can help your national parks during a government shutdown. If you are questioning why it all matters and why national parks are so important to some people, please read on.
The Importance of National Parks
National parks hold a special place in many people’s hearts across the country. These areas give us a glimpse at what our states looked like before we began building on all of the land. They show us the uniqueness and beauty of nature. These parks are extremely important to this country as a whole, for a variety of reasons. When people understand the importance they hold, they may be more willing to help protect these amazing parks.
A Piece of Nature
National parks are protected lands that keep bits of nature as natural as possible. These are the cornerstones of biodiversity, creating a safe place for plants and animals to live and thrive. Without national parks, these lands would not remain protected and would quickly be used for other purposes, whether it is destroyed for the resources or developed on. National parks help to protect the biodiversity in these natural areas and allow the entire world to continue to thrive. Not only do they protect animals and plants, but they give us a look at what this world was like before people created cities. Having a little piece of nature in your backyard is special, not everyone can enjoy an escape to nature so easily. There are so many beautiful and unique things that you can find in national parks, from giant mountains to crazy rock formations, you will be amazed at what nature can create as you take a walk through these protected lands.
National parks also play a huge role in the economy of the towns surrounding them. Many of these towns thrive thanks to the tourism that the national parks create. People love visiting these natural areas, whether it is to take a quick peek at something amazing or to spend the day hiking trails. Thousands of people visit national parks every day, they drive through towns and stop for lunch or dinner. The entrance fees go to keep the parks protected and maintaining the roads and lands. The national parks help bring in a lot of revenue for the surrounding areas, without them, many of these towns would struggle to stay afloat due to a major drop in tourism.
Source of Enjoyment
National parks are big in the tourism industry, but they also can provide anyone with enjoyment. Whether you are making your way to a national park to go camping or sightseeing, they will always be able to provide you with a good time. National parks are great for people of all ages and backgrounds. They are not just for outdoor enthusiasts. No matter who you are, you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, learn more about nature, and find joy in a national park. Many people use nature as an escape from their hectic lives and they retreat to a national park nearby. These areas help get us outside and give us a different perspective on the world around us. Suddenly, nature is what is important and what can help you find relief from a stressful life. National parks bring us outside and allow us to breathe in some clean and fresh air. These areas are special to so many people because they provide them with what they need to refresh.
Source of Discovery
These natural areas can also help us make new discoveries. Scientists often use national parks to help them learn more about the ecosystem, animals, plants, and so much more. These parks are important for us to learn more about the world around us and how to best protect it. Without these large areas of natural lands, we may not be able to make scientific discoveries. Science in national parks allows us to protect wildlife, help restore worn down areas, and document climate change. They are also a great place to learn and teach children about nature and the national parks all around this country. Our national parks serve as a classroom for both students and scientists.
There are so many reasons why national parks are important. From giving us space to get outside and enjoy nature to provide towns with the revenue they need to thrive. Without national parks, so much would be lost. We would not be able to enjoy thousands of square miles of natural lands. Protecting these parks is more important than you may think. And we hope that you will work to help protect these lands every time you visit.
Together we can keep these parks thriving for years to come, but we need to be more cautious about how to protect and care for them during government shutdowns and any other time we visit. At TeaZen, we understand the importance of national parks and have a deep love for these natural areas. We want to help keep them protected by informing you and what part you can take to help out! We hope this blog helped. Enjoy your national parks and treat these lands with respect during your next visit.
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