Joshua Tree Park Stays Open
First reported by Sbsun.com
- Plans to shut down Joshua Tree National Park on Thursday were scuttled after a group of furloughed rangers and volunteers pitched in to restore the trashed preserve.
- Citing overflowing toilets, damaged trees and pathways, and vandalized picnic grounds, the California park on Wednesday it would be closing until the skeleton crew left by the government shutdown could get the grounds back in order. But as it turned out, making the announcement was all that was needed to get the ball rolling. National Parks Service Ranger Duane Vigar says when word spread about the poor conditions, a number of unpaid employees and volunteers showed up Wednesday to lend a hand with the restoration project. And because people believed the park was going to be closed on Thursday, the limited number of visitors allowed the crew to cover a lot of ground in a short time.
- Civilian volunteer Rand Abbott says he’s been helping out since day two of the shutdown because he owes it to the park’s wildlife. “We are guests of this park,” he says. “The big horn sheep, coyotes, road runners, desert tortoises, bobcats — they are the actual residents, not us.”
- In a government shutdown, should funds remain available to public parks?
- What would you do if you saw someone vandalizing a national park?
A couple from Rome, Italy, who wished not to be identified, look at a Joshua Tree National Park map after entering the north entrance to the park Thursday. Despite the partial federal shutdown Joshua Tree National Park remained open Thursday, January 10, 2019. The park has minimal staffing and campgrounds are now open. There is no park entry fee at the moment. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG).
TWENTYNINE PALMS — The National Park Service made the decision to avoid the scheduled closure of Joshua Tree National Park on the 20th day of the partial government shutdown, despite escalating levels of lawlessness, unsanitary conditions and vandalism that included visitors chopping down two of the park’s namesake trees.
The temporary closure of the park was averted Thursday, Jan. 10, by an infusion of Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds. The money was used to clean restrooms and restore damaged picnic grounds, authorities reported.
“The park is open. And we are opening all the campgrounds,” said NPS Ranger Duane Vigar.
A Week Into Government Shutdown, Ire Turns to Fear for Federal Workers The New York Times
Joshua Tree National Park to close campgrounds amid shutdown due to overflowing toilets
Joshua Tree closes campgrounds, Yosemite limits visitors as government shutdown drags on
The government backtracked on its plan to close Joshua Tree National Park today to protect it during the shutdown. The park will open; operations and staff will be funded using visitor fees (which might not be legal). https://t.co/WfBNM7ghAX
— John Upton (@johnupton) January 10, 2019
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 11, 2019
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 10, 2019
— Brian De Los Santos (@bdelossantos1) January 10, 2019