KCBS Radio/Holly Quan

Cleaning National Parks During Shutdown Becomes SF's Duty

Holly Quan
January 04, 2019 - 10:31 am

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco city workers have begun cleaning up national parks inside the city where garbage has been piling up amid the federal government shutdown. 

Two weeks into the partial shutdown, trash has been overflowing from receptacles at Aquatic Park because federal employees have been furloughed. Similar problems with mounting garbage have appeared at other sites such as Yosemite National Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

There's a greater degree of  chaos in parks like Joshua Tree in Southern California where campers have argued over campsites.

With no sign that President Trump and congressional leaders will soon reach an agreement to reopen shuttered offices, city workers were cleaning Aquatic Park on Friday. 

The park, next to the Wharf and Ghiradelli Square, is popular with visitors and residents. Rowers and swimmers have recently been picking up cigarette butts and food wrappers.

"This is where we swim, so we just like it right," said Joe Cannon, a member of the Dolphin Club. 

The trash has attracted some unsavory visitors, according to Chaz di Ferrari of San Rafael.

"Rats and skunks, not opossums, but raccoons," he said. For him, the clean up can't come soon enough. "Good for the city," he said. "Someone's got to do it. I mean, it has to be done."

A couple out for their daily power walk were relieved that the garbage cans were being emptied. 

"We take a walk everyday, and yesterday morning we went to about ten different trash cans in a row, and we couldn't find one to put the trash in," said one member of the couple.

"And we saw huge piles of rubbish just right on the street. It's gross and disgusting, and there are rats everywhere," said his partner. 

Along with Aquatic Park, crews are servicing parts of Lands End, but only areas where the trash cans are easily accessible. 

Visitors to the national park sites are asked to dispose of their refuse outside of parks while the shutdown continues. 

Written by Diana Shook.