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Joshua Tree National Park to close Thursday for cleanup and repair after damages

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.

On January 2, 2019, park officials announced that all campgrounds in the park would be closed.

“The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity. In addition to human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem,” stated a NPS news release.

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,” officials said.

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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