Meanwhile, the Interior Department will immediately confront one of the most vivid symbols of the shutdown: the widespread damage at national parks that were left unstaffed for more than a month. The open access led to members of the public cutting down trees at Joshua Tree National Park in southern California to make way for offroad vehicles, leaving piles of human excrement and toilet paper on trails and committing other forms of vandalism, according to complaints.
Work that continued during the shutdown could be the subject of future court battles. Interior continued to work on permits to drill for oil and gas on federal property. But Democrats and some environmental groups have said that work could be legally challenged unless the agency can prove that it was using money Congress had already appropriated, as the department said it had.
One important part of the government-wide reboot will be updating federal websites with security certificates that expired during the shutdown, making some inaccessible. The problem affected at least 130 sites with “.gov” domain names, including ones at Justice, Homeland Security and NASA. Many online services were inaccessible and communications rendered insecure.