To: David Bernhardt, Acting Secretary of Interior

Close National Parks During #TrumpShutdown

Endangered Species Coalition

The Trump Shutdown has left our national parks without park rangers or other staff to keep public lands protected and wildlife safe. All of the parks must be closed until the shutdown is over and rangers are able to return to their stations.

Why is this important?

The Trump Shutdown is causing enormous damage to our national parks and the wildlife that call them home.

Visitors to some parks have left piles of trash and waste near roadsides, making the parks unsanitary and putting bears, coyotes, and wolves in future peril.

The National Park Service has worked for decades to prevent large predators from becoming accustomed to food from people. Park visitors are jeopardizing all of these efforts by causing animals to become habituated to seeking food near roadsides and other places where visitors gather.

When the shutdown ends, these animals will continue to seek food near people, potentially leading to conflicts that could result in the killing of wildlife.

The National Park Service estimates that there were more than 300 million visits to parks in 2017. Even a fraction of that traffic can cause potentially catastrophic damage.

Joshua Tree National Park recently announced it would close all or a portion of the park following vandalism to its namesake tree and other plants and park lands.

Point Reyes National Seashore in California was closed for health reasons after human waste accumulated and Yosemite National Park closed some of its most frequented trails, "due to lack of restrooms and resulting impacts from human waste."

Former National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis cited the great risk in an Op Ed her recently wrote:

"Leaving the parks open without these essential staff is equivalent to leaving the Smithsonian museums open without any staff to protect the priceless artefacts."

In previous shutdowns, the parks have been closed to protect these iconic, treasured spaces from damage such as that which we are now seeeing. Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke decided in one of his final acts as a member of the Trump Administration to leave them open, despite precedent otherwise.

Please add your name to tell Acting Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt to immediately close the National Park System to protect wildlife, wild lands, and future visitors.