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Zinke: Park Visitors Should 'Grab a trash bag'

Former Interior secretary and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.
Nicky Ouellet
Montana Public Radio
Former interior secretary and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — 10:50 a.m.: Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says National Park visitors should "grab a trash bag and take some trash out" as garbage bins at some parks overflow during the government shutdown.

With many government workers furloughed as the partial shutdown entered its 14th day on Friday, garbage has piled up at sites including California's Joshua Tree National Park.

Zinke, who resigned effective Wednesday, told The Associated Press he sought to keep the parks open during the shutdown so that the public wasn't penalized for the political feud centered on President Donald Trump's border wall.

Some park advocates have called for all national parks to be closed to protect them from possible harm.
But Zinke says visitors can help keep them open if they "pitch in, grab a trash bag and take some trash out."
10:20 p.m.

As former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke exits Washington amid a cloud of unresolved ethics investigations, he says he has lived up to the conservation ideals of Teddy Roosevelt and insists the myriad allegations against him will be proven untrue.

The former Montana congressman told The Associated Press that he quit President Donald Trump's Cabinet on his own terms, despite indications he was pressured by the White House to resign.

His broad rollbacks of restrictions on oil and gas drilling brought a scathing backlash from environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers. But Zinke says the rollbacks mesh with Roosevelt's view that conservation entails not just protection but also development of public lands.

House Democrats plan to put Zinke's tenure under the spotlight with oversight hearings beginning next month.

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