'Park Protection Measures' to Be Taken at Joshua Tree

People have been defacing trees, damaging roads
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2019 6:07 PM CST
In this Nov. 17, 1998, file photo, a meteor streaks through the sky over Joshua trees and rocks at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California's Mojave Desert in this 30-minute time exposure.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

(Newser) – Joshua Tree National Park is likely closing Thursday thanks to the partial government shutdown. The Southern California park, located near Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert, says that—with only about eight rangers patrolling due to the shutdown—visitors have recently defaced the park's namesake trees and done damage by driving off-road. Per a park statement, "necessary cleanup" will be done and "park protection measures" will be taken. Sanitation issues will also be addressed, per the AP.

But while the Los Angeles Times initially reported the park would likely remain closed for the duration of the shutdown, officials have since walked that back and are now saying they expect it to reopen by the end of the week—and they say it may not actually close at all, depending on how quickly cleanup takes place. (Another consequence of the shutdown at national parks: poop problems.)

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