Shutdown: Three People Die as National Parks Left Largely Unpatrolled

Three people have died as a result of accidents in U.S. national parks since the shutdown began on December 22, reported the Washington Post.

The Trump administration parted with previous administrations and decided to keep federal parks open to the public during the shutdown, despite them being almost entirely unsupervised.

During government shutdowns in 1995 and 2013, the Clinton and Obama administrations had closed parks to the public out of concern for public safety.

The deaths took place within a week of each other.

The El Capitan monolith in the Yosemite National Park in California on June 4, 2015. Getty Images

The first death occurred on Christmas Eve, when a 14-year-old girl fell to her death at Glen Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Her body was found 700 feet below the Horseshoe Bend scenic overlook, USA Today reported. The death is believed to have been accidental.

On Christmas Day a man fell into a river in California's Yosemite National Park and died. Police believe he suffered a head injury in the fall.

On December 29, high winds brought down a tree in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The tree fell onto a 42-year-old woman, killing her.

National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum told the publication that seven deaths in total occurred in national parks since the shutdown, with four of those killed believed to have taken their own lives.

He said that on average, six people a week die in the national parks system, with automobile crashes, falls, drowning and suicide the top causes of death.

Reports have emerged during the shutdown of visitors to national parks during the shutdown violating park rules, with Yosemite visitors dumping garbage at vista points, defecating on the ground and bringing dogs into pet-restricted areas.