We absolutely love the preservation of amazing natural resources through National and State Parks; however, putting land into a park doesn’t fully protect it from human impact on the environment. Shutdowns caused by politics and pandemics can play a huge role in how the wildlife in these parks is protected… or not. Don’t worry– we’re not speaking in a partisan sense!

As explored in an ArcGIS article by Meg Rossie, government shutdowns affect more than just politicians. During these shutdowns, National Park employees don’t work, so the parks are used without supervision. The 2018-2019 government shutdown led to harmful overuse of the parks that negatively impacted wildlife, from sewage overflow and littering to accessing prohibited, protected areas. In 2021, some of these negative impacts are still in the process of being repaired. Experts believe that some impacts from this time may not be able to be reversed.

When the world shutdown due to Covid-19, tourism of outdoor spaces like National and State Parks greatly increased; however, so did the quantity of trash that accumulated there. Visitors of Virginia State Parks seemed to forget about the “Leave No Trace” ideal and heavily littered, as seen in this article by 13 News Now. It’s important to remember that conservation efforts extend beyond putting land into conservation easements or State Parks!

The escape to the outdoors is an irreplaceable experience, which is why Conservation Partners works to hard to protect Virginia lands. Along with facilitating conservation easements, we also help preserve natural lands by collecting trash and by activating for funding of State Parks.