Nonprofit raises money to help national parks recover from shutdown damage

Nonprofit raises money to help national parks recover from shutdown damage
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A nonprofit is launching a new fundraising campaign aimed at helping national parks recover after the current partial government shutdown ends.

The National Park Foundation, a congressionally chartered organization that serves as the National Park Service’s (NPS) official charity, launched the Parks Restoration Fund on Thursday amid growing concerns about the damage the shutdown is inflicting on parks.

The effort came the same day that a photo of a tree cut down in Joshua Tree National Park caused national outrage and went viral on social media as a symbol of the harm to parks while the government is closed.

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“People’s love for their national parks is palpable, and the Parks Restoration Fund gives everyone a place to channel their strong desire to support these national treasures,” Will Shafroth, the foundation’s president, said in a statement.

“Once the government reopens and rangers have determined what needs to be done, this fund will help repair damage where it's needed most.”

The group said once the shutdown ends, it will work with the NPS to identify the places that need money the most and deploy resources there.

Friday marks the 21st day of the shutdown, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE and congressional Democrats show few signs of coming to a deal on Trump’s request for money to build a border wall anytime soon.

The Trump administration decided to leave parks open to the public while nearly all staff are furloughed. That has led to overflowing trash, damage to buildings and other impacts, like the Joshua trees that were cut down at California’s Joshua Tree National Park.

The administration decided this week to use money from visitor fees to help some parks, but the agency will likely still need help recovering when the government reopens.

The park foundation said recovery will likely include steps like wildlife habitat recovery, removing graffiti and cleaning trash.