Visitors hoping to see Oregon’s Crater Lake will have a much longer — and likely stinkier — hike ahead of them.
This week, officials at the national park announced that the road leading up to the famous lake had been closed due to a buildup of human waste brought on by the ongoing federal government shutdown. Like national parks across the country, Crater Lake National Park has remained open to visitors during the shutdown, but has no staff to pick up garbage that has piled up and the other waste accumulated due to locked bathrooms. As Oregon Live reported, the buildup prompted officials this week to close the road due to safety concerns.
“Due to conditions caused by the impact of human waste buildup on the park’s water system, the road to Crater Lake is now closed to vehicles at hwy 62 to protect public health and park resources. The road may not reopen until after the shutdown,” officials said on the park’s website.
The road closure leaves it nearly impossible to reach the iconic lake, the report noted, as the northern entrance had already been closed earlier in the season. Some tourists told KVAL that they still planned to see the lake, and were willing to make the roughly eight-mile hike in order to see it.
“We were a little disappointed, but we’re outdoor people, so it’s not a big problem for us,” park visitor Vladimir Stozhkov told the outlet. “It just means like an extra eight miles of hiking.”
Other national parks have also become filled with garbage and human waste during the government shutdown as well, leading to what the Willamette Week called a “national park poop crisis.” Many others have been forced to close or close portions of the parks due to the buildup of waste.
“At the Point Reyes National Seashore in California, the buildup of human waste was so bad that the park had to be closed for health hazards,” the Daily Beast reported.
The ongoing government shutdown has caused controversy, especially amid reports that one national park had the funding to remain open — the Old Post Office tower in Washington, D.C., which just happened to share a facility with Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel. As The Hill reported, the General Services Administration announced that it had the funding to keep the site open, which has led to criticism that it is personally benefiting Trump, who has not divested from his personal businesses.