In the country's national parks, which are understaffed by the closure of the government, garbage accumulates, bathrooms overflow and visitors go wild.

But not in South Florida.

Thanks to a small army of non-profit employees and private companies operating in the four national parks of South Florida, a handful of reception centers remain open and garbage is being collected.

In the Everglades National Park, one of the country's most visited, "the parks are open, the concessions work and the Everglades Association manages reception centers," said the executive director of the Everglades South Florida National Parks Trust, Don Finefrock.

At the last stop of the government in 2016, park visitor centers were closed. This year, the government has allowed them to stay open until they use its resources and staff.

"This is where we come in," said Jim Sutton, executive director of the Florida National Parks Association, a non-profit association. "We will never be able to replace [the park rangers], but we strive to welcome visitors. "

Sutton said its nearly 60 plainclothes employees empty garbage cans, clean bathrooms and run the Oasis visitor center at Big Cypress National Preserve near Tamiami Trail. At the Visitor Center, employees tell tourists about available tours, an important link for private businesses that rely on rangers to send their customers.

"It's a brand new safety net," Sutton said. "And unfortunately, this is happening in our busiest time of the year."

The winter season is traditionally the busiest season for South Florida tourists and the closure has slowed traffic in many of the parks, tour operators said. This is another blow to the same industry severely affected by Hurricane Irma late 2017.

"You take two years with back-to-back hits and your most income-generating weeks are affected," said Sutton. "It hurts."

In Big Cypress, Steven Markley of Buggy Tours, Captain Steve, said he still felt the financial hardship caused by Irma and that the slowdown caused by the closure had not helped. When there is a stop, he said, tourists assume that the park is closed and stay away.

"Last year was a real year of misery," he said. "With the hurricane and all this unnecessary waste, we had a real, very bad year. I do not think it's settled yet. Not yet, not for me.

Finefrock, in collaboration with the South Florida National Parks Trust, said it was worried about the consequences that a prolonged shutdown could have on park resources and staff morale.

Educational programs for which trust funds depend on seasonal staff, "many of whom can not afford to do without a salary. If these seasons stop and go home, the parks will have to reduce their programs even after the government reopens, "he said.

As the closure continues, some visitors have decided to clean the parks and reserves.

Alex Rubinsteyn, a 35-year-old medical researcher from New York City, was walking Gator Hoof Trail with his friend, Geddes Levenson, on Monday when they noticed that the car park was littered with garbage.

"People were stupid," he said. "Instead of taking their trash with them, they throw them in the trash already full."

The couple found a roll of dog poop bags in their car and picked up as much garbage as they could that day. They plan to come back this weekend for a more thorough cleaning with friends.

For tour operators in other parks, the stop has not changed much. This is particularly true in the Dry Tortugas National Park, off the Florida Keys, where only one island is open. Tourists must arrive by ferry or seaplane, thanks to its location about 70 miles from Key West.

Terry Strickland, general manager of Yankee Freedom's ferry crossings to Dry Tortugas, said his staff was already part of the island's cleaning team, Garden Key, and that his boat was usually booked for weeks in advance.

"The only island where we take people is very well maintained," he said. "When it comes to business, business is good."