black rock station

Visiting Public Lands During the Government Shutdown

Mounds of garbage, piles of human waste, and other negative environmental impacts are threatening our National Parks and other public lands, including the Black Rock National Conservation Area. Unfortunately, park rangers and BLM staff are off duty until the government reopens, which means that in places without groups like Friends, visitors don’t have a way to get maps and current information. The land is relying on us to not only be good stewards, but to help fill the information gap. So, what can you do to help?

The Center for Outdoor Ethics recently sent these guidelines for visiting all public lands during the shutdown. We agree with their advice.

Additionally, do some research into Friends and other local environmental stewardship groups in the area you plan to visit. Get in touch and ask us all your questions. We’re here to help.

Take advantage of restrooms before you hit the backwoods- FBR has the best public restroom in Gerlach! We don’t carry wag bags yet (see 3 above), but have other alternatives for backwoods bathrooms.

Finally, engage people with outdoor ethics and why it matters! Start a conversation to explain a good practice and how it helps. For example, talk about how packing toilet paper out of Trego keeps bad bacteria away from the hot springs, so people and animals who bathe can be healthy. Other visitors are generally willing to listen, and those new to the outdoors will probably appreciate the pointers. Need help starting a conversation? Sign up or our Leave No Trace Trainer Course!

Whether you Tread Lightly! or Leave No Trace, make sure you’re doing your part to help keep our lands clean and accessible during the government shutdown, and consider volunteering to help restore them once the land managers are able to return.