Statement of Phil Francis, Chair of The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, on the Continuing Partial Government Shutdown:

“This partial government shutdown needs to end. As our elected leaders fail to do their jobs and fully fund the government, there’s discussion that more NPS employees may be asked to work without pay to keep the lights on. Employees will process utility bills, ensuring that corporations continue to get their money, while those employees are unable to pay their own bills.

The Coalition is calling on acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to close national parks until the shutdown is over to prevent any further damage to these critical national treasures. Without park rangers to safeguard the lives of visitors and our natural and cultural resources, the parks and the people who visit them are in danger. There are already reports of damage to our irreplaceable resources at parks that were directed to remain partially open. Piles of trash and human waste are building up. The Secretary of the Interior is charged by Congress with preserving the resources of our national parks unimpaired for future generations. Clearly acting secretary Bernhardt is violating this law due to the damage being inflicted upon our parks on a daily basis.

President Trump took responsibility for creating this mess and it will be National Park Service employees cleaning it up when they get back to work.

This shutdown needs to end now, or the parks should be closed before this administration inflicts further harm on our national parks, our federal workforce and their families, as well as the communities where they live. Clearly, the lights are on but there’s nobody home.”