Does a nature lover crap in the woods? He does if he’s on the way to visit Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, according to The Oregonian, which reports that one of the entrances to the park has been closed due to a buildup of human waste:
National parks in the Pacific Northwest have remained open during the shutdown, but they haven’t been staffed with rangers, and all facilities – including restrooms – have been closed. That’s apparently led visitors to poop in the open without following proper “leave no trace” etiquette, creating a public health hazard.
Similar reports have come in over social media from other national park sites, including Yosemite and Joshua Tree, where human waste and vandalism has reportedly spiked since the shutdown began.
Something about this story smells — apart from the obvious. Namely, why are park visitors abandoning proper waste disposal etiquette, which is critical not only to their own health and well-being but to that of the environment they profess to cherish? And to what degree are their actions tied to the reports of vandalism?
This sudden influx of unhappy campers calls to mind one of the effects of the far more massive shutdown in 2013 when Barack Obama urged Americans to share their “shutdown sob stories” on the WH.gov website as a way to dump on Republicans, whom he blamed for the shutdown. Could some congressman from blue, blue Oregon be secretly inviting locals to desecrate the park in a perverse attempt to make the current president look bad?