Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A lack of staff due to the government shutdown has forced some national parks to close campgrounds and restrict visits to hundreds of acres.
The shutdown, now in its second week, has forced thousands of federal government employees out of work. It has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds to keep parks running smoothly, the Visalia Times Delta reported.
Many parks have remained open, but have been severely understaffed.
At Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, several areas have been closed because of lack of staff and unsanitary conditions.
"The Generals Highway is closed at Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park. This closure extends through Giant Forest and Lodgepole, through to Lost Grove. The closure includes concession facilities at these locations, including Wuksachi Lodge," parks officials announced on Twitter Tuesday.
"Areas within the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park are also closed. It includes the road to the General Grant Tree, Big Stump Picnic Area, and Azalea campground. ... It is likely these closures will remain in effect for the duration of the government shutdown," the statement said.
Joshua Tree National Park, also in California, announced Wednesday that it was closing its campgrounds because of health and safety concerns over near-capacity pit toilets, CNN reported.
"In addition to human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem. Indian Cove and Black Rock campgrounds will be open for day-use only, sunrise to sunset. Additional closures include Lost Horse Mine Road due to illegal activity and Rattlesnake Canyon in order to reduce the number of search-and-rescue events for rangers already spread thin due to the government shutdown. Keys View Road is also closed, effective immediately," park officials said in a statement.
George Cashman of Milwaukee said the lack of park officials soured his trip to the Big Bend National Park in Texas with his children.
"There are no rangers to talk to and help the kids out," Cashman told the Washington Post. "Last year, one of the rangers in Yellowstone let them take the temperature of one of the geysers. Those memories aren't going to happen this year."
The Smithsonian Institution will close off its museums and the National Zoo on Wednesday because it has depleted its temporary funding.