Good People Doing Good Things — National Park Volunteers

As a result of the Trump government shutdown, some 800,000+ federal employees are either furloughed from their jobs, else are asked to continue working without immediate compensation and with only the hope of back pay at some elusive date in the future.  Among those who are on furlough are the employees of the national parks around the nation.Trash-overflowing.jpgWith nobody to empty trash, clean restrooms, move debris from public areas, the parks were, after nearly three weeks untended, falling into a state of disrepair.  But last week, some good people took notice.  Let me introduce you to just a few …

Mike Skelton is the owner of Yellowstone Wonders, a company that offers tours of Yellowstone National Park.  Last week, with the holidays in the rearview mirror, Mike noticed a serious buildup of trash in the park.yellowstone-4

“We all live here. When it gets down to it, it is our park and it belongs to all of us in this country.”

Yellowstone-3.jpgAnd with that, he gathered a few other local residents and got to work.  They brushed snow off entrances, cleaned toilets, replaced toilet paper and switched out garbage bags, and they’ll likely do it again most weekends, if the shutdown continues.  The first day, Saturday, Mr. Skelton was joined by about 15 volunteers, but the next day, Sunday, there were 40!  Some volunteers brought supplies from home or bought them along the way.yellowstone-2In addition to individuals lending a hand, dozens of small businesses located in proximity to Yellowstone National Park have all chipped in thousands of dollars to keep the park open and tidy during the winter tourist season … they even offer free pizza to the volunteers!

gsm-signIn Tennessee, Marc Newland and his 10-year-old daughter Erica have spent their days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hiking the mountain trails with trash bags in hand so they can pick up litter along the way. gsm-3The Newlands have always been avid hikers, but when Marc told his daughter about how the shutdown would affect the mountain park, she suggested that they take it upon themselves to keep the trails tidy.

“Erica says that she would like to challenge other hikers to take one day off from getting in miles and impressive vista pics and instead, give back by grabbing a trash bag, heading to the park and collecting some litter!! These mountains give so much to so many people. Imagine if only a fraction of those people decided to give back to the mountains.”


Ever hear of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA)?  It is a Maryland-based organization that regularly organizes community service cleaning efforts across the country, and presently they are mobilizing to clean up in Joshua Tree National Park, Everglades National Park, the National Mall, and Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.


Joshua Tree National Park – California

At least 70 members of the group emptied overflowing trash cans, picked up piles of litter and swept the streets over the weekend.  Young.  Muslim.  Men.  The ones who so many call terrorists … are picking up trash in order to keep our national parks clean.  Think about that one for a minute, if you will.

These are but a few of the groups and individuals who are stepping up to the plate during the Trump shutdown to help keep things running smoothly.  Unfortunately, due to a weekend incident where park visitors damaged trees while driving off-road, Joshua Tree National Park is now closed to visitors.  Had park rangers been on the job, the incident likely would not have happened.

Nonetheless, there are thousands of people out there volunteering to pick up the slack left by the Trump shutdown, and I, for one, am grateful to them.  The parks belong to us all, and we should offer kudos to these fine volunteers for helping to take care of the parks so that we can continue to enjoy them.  Thank you ALL!!!

29 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — National Park Volunteers

  1. That’s great. It’s wonderful to see people come together for the greater good of others. I hope more people acquire the humility, compassion and love required to help their neighbor (Colossians 3:12). I pray this government shutdown ends soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How wonderful to see ordinary everyday people acting in such exemplary ways. These good people have certainly risen to the occasion. They bring to mind these words of Theodore Roosevelt that I often repeat : “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Thank-you one and all!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are great examples of community coming together. They are also great examples of how localised goverenence can work in the absence of a massive Government. With decentralised governance, no one part of the system can shut down the others. Something to think about perhaps?
    Applause to all those people who truly do make America great… There is no ‘again’ necessary because the people who do the right thing have always been there. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Colette! You are right … the UK is in a tough spot at the moment, and dealing with Trump can only make it worse. Oh how I wish we could reinstate Obama … but nope, it would require a Constitutional Amendment and you can imagine how likely that is! I think … and I hope I’m wrong … the politics we are seeing today are about to become the new ‘normal’. Sigh.


  4. Dear Jill,

    These folks like AMYA stepping forward to volunteer to clean up the parks are what make this country great. It’s a time for decent folks to shine especially in comparison to the bully-in -chief living in the White House.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you 100%. The person responsible for the nation cares less for about the people in that nation. But, I’m happy to see that there are still people who do care enough to pitch in when our government fails us.

      Liked by 2 people

          • If we are unlucky all of it. Even though my feeling is there is yet a balance in the air to go in a positive or negative direction. Life will change. I believe it is the technological advancement and climate change that causes the social and political uncertainty. But we are usually occupied with just one of the causes and can’t see the whole picture. Brexit and Mr T. antics are a great way to be distracted from climate change and advancement of AI and the internet. And it’s difficult to see through all of it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I agree with what you say … I believe the reason we cannot see the whole picture is that it is too wide … panoramic. It’s too much to digest, so we break it down into parts and focus largely on the parts that we find either a) easiest to understand, or b) closest to our own hearts. Technology has certainly played a role — the internet has changed the world. And climate change … well, if we want to save our home, Planet Earth, we are all going to have to make some lifestyle changes that may make our lives a little less convenient, and people are spoiled. Climate change deniers don’t really disbelieve in the science, they just don’t choose to acknowledge the truth, for doing so would require them to make some sacrifices.

              So where does it all leave us? Darned if I know, but I think things will never quite be the same again and that we will see the global situation get worse before it gets better.


  5. Kudos to everyone, especially but not exclusively to the AMYA.
    I’m betting the hooligans damaging Joshua Tree were good Christian people, taking advantage of the security-less park areas…

    Liked by 4 people

    • Indeed … while these are all good people, the AMYA especially impressed me. I rather figured the ones who caused the damage in the Joshua Tree park might have been hunters. It is illegal to hunt in the national parks, but now, since there are no park rangers, they might have decided to take advantage. Who knows?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Never thought about hunters, what is there to hunt? But even so, hunters can be “good” Christian’s too. (apologies to people who are nice Christian’s, who don’t hate others not like them, etc

        Liked by 3 people

        • I’m not sure, considering that particular park is in the California desert! Maybe coyote? Remember, to some people it doesn’t matter what, they just thrill to the kill. Did you check out the link on Hugh’s comment? It was VERY uplifting!

          Liked by 2 people

    • Yes indeed … so many people seem to care a lot more about this country and its resources than our government. It does warm the heart to see the Muslim youth pitching in, and I understand that the group also has a branch in the UK and they periodically clean up certain areas.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think I did see Yogi in one of the pictures I ran across … and Boo Boo Bear, too! Ah, the good ol’ days. Yes, we should treasure them … at one point, the EPA wanted to see them off to fossil fuel interests for mining and drilling. That was when Scott Pruitt was over the EPA, and I’m not sure if the idea is still being considered or not. I should check into that.

      Liked by 3 people

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