People sit along the Coastal Trail at Lands End near trash bags and refuse piled up next to waste bins as the federal government shutdown continues on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Public Works to expand trash collection to national parks during federal shutdown

Trash has been piling up at San Francisco landmarks run by the National Park Service during the federal government shutdown, but city officials are now stepping in to pick up some of the slack.

Public Works started trash collection Wednesday at Lands End, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, picking up piles of refuse that had built up near garbage cans since the shutdown started Dec. 22.

Now, Public Works officials told the San Francisco Examiner, they’ll also pick up trash at Aquatic Park.

The focus will be on servicing public garbage cans and the areas immediately around them “that we can immediately access,” said Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for Public Works.

That means city staff won’t be making any long hikes through Lands End for pickups any time soon, but the department is asking people to remember to “pack it in, and pack it out,” to help play a part in keeping the parks safe and clean.

“We’re stepping in because it’s still part of San Francisco,” Gordon said. “We want a good experience for our visitors and residents there.”

At the same time, she said, “This is an extraordinary time, we all have to chip in, to do what we can,” and that means visitors should consider their own cleanliness when visiting federal land in San Francisco.

Gordon said the department may consider taking out trash in other areas traditionally serviced by the federal government inside San Francisco should the need arise, and the public can reach Public Works on Twitter, Facebook, and through its website.

The partial government shutdown has reduced access to the Marin Headlands, and closed federally funded sites like Point Bonita lighthouse and Fort Point, nestled under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Alcatraz Island has allowed access and some staffing from National Park Service staff thanks to funding from concession operators like Alcatraz Cruises. The Presidio Trust is funded by a different fiscal authority than those affected by the government shutdown, according to the GGNRA, and will remain open, including the Presidio Visitor Center. The Presidio Trust is picking up garbage and providing restroom services at Crissy Field in coordination with the National Park Service.

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