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Joshua Tree National Park Will Not Be Temporarily Closing Thursday as Previously Planned

Joshua Tree National Park Will Not Be Temporarily Closing Thursday as Previously Planned

Joshua Tree National Park Will Not Be Temporarily Closing Thursday as Previously Planned

Joshua Tree National Park will avoid a temporary closure set for Thursday and will reopen areas of the park that were closed because of the partial government shutdown, a park statement said Wednesday.

Officials said the park used recreation fees, specifically Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds, to clean up trash and overflowing toilets, and to reopen campgrounds for overnight stays. Besides sanitation problems, parts of the park suffered damage when some visitors went off-roading in sensitive areas and others defaced Joshua trees.

Volunteers had been working to keep the park clean and repaired during the shutdown that began Dec. 22. Park officials said their efforts “have contributed significantly” to the reopening of bathrooms and campgrounds. Now the newly tapped federal funds will continue to help.

“The park will also bring on additional staff to ensure the protection of park resources and mitigate some of the damage that has occurred during the lapse of appropriations,” the statement said.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close effective 8 am on Thursday, January 10, to allow park staff to address sanitation, safety, and resource protection issues in the park that have arisen during the lapse in appropriations. Park officials plan to restore accessibility to the park in addition to limited basic services in the coming days.

Park officials are identifying the additional staff and resources needed to address immediate maintenance and sanitation issues and will utilize funds from the park fees to address those issues per the recently updated National Park Service contingency plan during a lapse in appropriations.

While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree National Park do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure. Law enforcement rangers will continue to patrol the park and enforce the closure until park staff complete the necessary cleanup and park protection measures.

The communities near Joshua Tree National Park have provided significant assistance and support to the park, and park officials hope to restore visitor access to the park as quickly as possible to mitigate any negative impact to the local economy

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