Father And Daughter Take On National Park Clean-Up Duty As Government Shutdown Continues ❤️

Two weeks have passed since the start of the government shutdown, and it has been affecting operations within national parks across the country. Now, a father-daughter duo is taking it upon themselves to clean up one of their favorites: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

Marc Newland and his 10-year-old daughter, Erica, spend a lot of time hiking in the park, but their most recent visit was to help preserve the public land as it continues to be trashed as a result of the government shutdown. 

Some national parks have been forced to temporarily close down because they are severely understaffed. Others, like the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, are attempting to remain open and as accessible to the public as possible, despite dealing with issues such as minimal staffing.

Their website explains that campgrounds and restrooms are not operating, and neither are trash collection services:

“During the partial shutdown of the federal government due to the lapse of appropriations, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. Roads and trails that are seasonably open will remain accessible to visitors, but emergency and rescue services will be limited. The park will not be operating campgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, or providing trash collection services.”

Once Erica heard about this, she suggested she and her dad go on “litter patrol” and tackle the trash in the Smokies.

Posted by Marc Newland on Thursday, January 3, 2019

In an interview with ABC, Marc explained that the two of them collect trash during their normal hikes, but decided to focus solely on collecting trash on their most recent hike this past week.

“We regularly do cleanups around our area and always bring out litter that we run across during our hikes, but Thursday we decided to focus our efforts exclusively on litter patrol.”

He wrote about their cleanup effort in the Hike the Smokies Group on Facebook:

First, it was off to the Little River and Jake’s Creek trailheads where we were pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t much work for us. Next, we headed to the Laurel Falls trailhead and, as expected, we had plenty of work! We headed up the trail and before we knew it, our bags were full.”

Posted by Marc Newland on Thursday, January 3, 2019

Posted by Marc Newland on Thursday, January 3, 2019

Marc explained to CBS News that he wants to do his part and make a difference, and aims to teach his daughter the same thing.

“I am not a government worker, just an avid hiker who lives just outside of our national park. We have always made an effort to clean up litter when we hike but after explaining the shutdown to Erica (our 10 year old), she was inspired to kick up our efforts and make a real difference.” 

Marc got some awesome shots of his daughter on their “litter patrol” hike.

She collected all of the garbage around her with a smile on her face!

Locals were proud of the trash-tackling father-daughter duo, who went to great lengths to ensure the Smokies stayed clean.

Marc explained that they are going to come back and continue their cleanup efforts:

“We didn’t quite make it to the waterfall before we had to turn back to make it to a doctors appointment, but we will be returning soon to pick up where we left off!”

But it wasn’t just other Tennesseans. People from all over the place praised the pair:

Many are calling Marc a great role model and a good example to young Erica.

In his post on Facebook, Marc also said:

“These mountains give so much to so many people. Imagine if only a fraction of those people decided to give back to the mountains…”

Erica is now challenging others to spend a day dedicated to cleaning up their beloved local national park:

“It was a fun and very rewarding day for both of us and Erica says that she would like to challenge other hikers to take one day off from getting in miles and impressive vista pics and instead, give back by grabbing a trash bag, heading to the park and collecting some litter!”

Others are saying that as sweet as it is, citizens shouldn’t have to spend time doing what the government should be taking care of. But as we enter another week of the government shutdown, government functions such as the Internal Revenue Service, various sectors within the criminal justice system, museums and national parks, and the Transportation Security Administration are continuing to feel the effects.

So, as it stands right now, everyone might want to grab a trash bag or two.

And if we can’t clean up the government, then everyone can at least clean up after themselves. Right?

Regardless, this eco-conscious daddy-daughter duo is being thanked for taking initiative, and taking out the trash.

No doubt, Mother Nature is proud and appreciative of these two.

Marc said that the hike was a “fun and very rewarding day for both of us.”

Good job, guys! We can all learn a thing or two from them.