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Nature, Environment

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.

Land in 7 WV counties acquired for wildlife management efforts

The Free Press WV

A nonprofit has bought nearly 19,000 acres of forest land in seven West Virginia counties aimed at increasing public access for hunting and wildlife-associated recreation.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Conservation Fund announced the land purchase Thursday.

A statement by the organization says the land was bought at the request of the state Division of Natural Resources and will eventually be transferred to the state as funding becomes available. The plan is to create five new wildlife management areas and expand four others along with North Bend State Park.

The land is in Calhoun, Doddridge, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Wirt and Wood counties. The land features habitat for a variety of endangered and threatened bird, bat and mussel species.

The DNR also recently acquired 12,440 acres in four counties for preservation efforts.

Dolly Sods roads to close January 01

The Free Press WV

he Monongahela National Forest will close off access to the Dolly Sods area starting January 1st. Forest Roads 19 and 75, which lead to the area, will have gates closed and locked.

The closing to vehicle traffic is normal procedure for the area during the winter months.

“These road closures are put in place for visitor safety,” said Troy Waskey Cheat-Potomac District Ranger. “Forest visitors and emergency responders are put at unnecessary risk without the road closures.”

The gates will be reopened in mid April depending on snow conditions.

For more information, contact the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District at 304.257.4488.

Researcher: It’s Time for ‘Climate Passports’

The Free Press WV

A prominent researcher is proposing establishing a “climate passport” for people driven from their homes by the impact of global warming, per the AP. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said Thursday the passport could be modeled on a similar certificate given to refugees of Russia’s civil war in the 1920s. That so-called Nansen passport, which was later extended to other people who were made stateless after their citizenships were revoked, helped hundreds of thousands of people to find refuge elsewhere in the world. Schellnhuber’s proposal, made on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Poland, is likely to face resistance from rich countries concerned about the possibility of climate refugees heading their way in the coming decades.

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