7 people have died in US parks since start of gov't shutdown
Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 3:45 PM - At least seven people have died in U.S. national parks since the government shut down on December 21.
According to Outside Magazine, a man died of a head injury in Yosemite on Christmas Day after falling into a river. He was in the Silver Apron area, between Vernal and Nevada falls according to a government spokesperson.
Rangers retrieved the man within an hour and provided medical care.
National Park Service (NPS) spokesman Andrew Muñoz told Weather.com the shutdown has stalled an investigation into the man's death, adding no news release was circulated about the incident because of the closure.
In addition, a 14-year-old girl fell to her death in Arizona on December 24, and on December 27, Dr. Lailai Jiwani, 42, of Texas, died after being struck by a tree during heavy winds in Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, as per the Star-Telegram.
Of the seven people who have died in national parks since the shut down began, four of the deaths are believed to have been suicides.
NPS spokesperson Jeremy Barnum told the post an average of six people die each week in the park system, typically from "accidents like drownings, falls, and motor vehicle crashes and medical related incidents such as heart attacks."
Law enforcement is on-staff at all national parks during the closure.
OVERFLOWING TOILETS, TRASH FORCE CLOSURES
Last Wednesday, overflowing toilets are overflowing forced closures at Joshua Tree National Park.
"The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity," the park service said in a statement.
"In addition to human waste in public areas, driving off-road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem."
Signs posted around the park say the closure is due to a "lapse in federal appropriations."
Handwritten signs have also been posted asking visitors not to litter, as there are currently no trash services.