Consequence of the Shutdown: Poop Problems

The Free Press WV

When the government shut down on Dec. 22, Yosemite National Park remained open but its bathrooms did not. Tourists haven’t stopped relieving themselves, apparently alongside the road, reports the Los Angeles Times. Now, two campgrounds, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, and Hetch Hetchy have been shut down over health concerns stemming from the human urine and feces that’s been deposited along Wawona Road in the park’s south.

“Some visitors are opting to deposit their waste in natural areas adjacent to high traffic areas, which creates a health hazard for other visitors,“ says a National Parks Service rep. Tourists are being asked to use restrooms outside the park before they arrive, and KFSN reports travelers who haven’t already locked in reservations are being advised to plan a single-day trip. A separate LAT article looks at the situation at Joshua Tree National Park, where the waterless toilets aren’t being maintained, leaving some volunteers to try to stock them with toilet paper. One such volunteer doled out 500 rolls in roughly five days.

Meet the FBI of the National Park Service

The Free Press WV

There are 33 agents assigned to the Investigative Services Branch and they handle the tough cases that arise on land most of us visit for only a few hours or days at a time.

And you’d be surprised at how much crime occurs in our National Parks system.

Here’s the story of a murder case that began with a frantic cry for help from a husband who told rescuers that his wife had suffered a fearsome fall off rocks.

It’s also the story of a police force that began with a “Hippie riot” at Yosemite in 1970.

Learn More:    Outside

North Bend State Park to host 51st Nature Wonder Weekend September. 21-23, 2018

The Free Press WV

North Bend State Park’s Nature Wonder Weekend, North America’s premier and longest-running wild foods event, will celebrate its 51st annual event September 21-23. The theme of this year’s event is “Forage and Feast.”

“This year we will get back to the basics of this long-running event, and participants will enjoy a weekend of foraging and preparation at its best,” said Emily Fleming, deputy director for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “North Bend State Park has long been a forager’s paradise with an abundance of edible wild foods. Experienced foragers will be there to help attendees discover the richness nature provides.”

Wild food foragers from across the country attend the Nature Wonder Weekend every year. This year’s keynote speaker will be Doug Elliott, naturalist, herbalist, storyteller and author from Union Mills, North Carolina. Other guest speakers will include Mike Krebill, wild foods author and teacher from Keokuk, Iowa, and Sam England, chief of West Virginia State Parks.

Events begin Friday evening and conclude Sunday morning. There are scheduled speakers, presentations, nature walks, the event’s first-ever bike hike and collection and preparation of wild foods. Activities include a park tour, wild food identification instruction, the Hazel Wood Commemorative Wild Food Cooking Contest and the Bill Faust Wild Cake Contest. The Wild Drink Contest winner is awarded the honorary Maxine Scarbro Friendship Cup.

Overnight lodging packages as well as day-only attendance and meal options are available. Guests may reserve lodge rooms, cabins or camping sites. Packages for traditional Appalachian-style meals are available at North Bend Lodge restaurant.

To register, contact Wendy Greene by calling 304.558.2754 or send an email to . A registration form is available at and overnight lodging reservation information is available at     

Nature Wonder Weekend is sponsored by the National Wild Foods Association, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, and North Bend State Park.

New River Gorge National River gets grant for activities

The Free Press WV

The New River Gorge National River in West Virginia will receive a grant to bolster a partnership aimed at getting local residents involved in recreational activities.

The National Park Foundation on Wednesday announced 20 grants to enhance the country’s national trails and wild and scenic rivers.

The grants totaling more than $500,000 are in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails and National Wild and Scenic Rivers systems.

In southern West Virginia, the Get Active in the Park program provides free, beginner-level instruction in outdoor activities such as yoga, rock climbing, paddle boarding, hiking and fly fishing.

The program is a partnership between the nonprofit group Active Southern West Virginia and the region’s national parks.

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