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Joshua Tree National Park Narrowly Avoids Closure Amid Government Shutdown

News Summed Up 2019-01-10 05:30:00

Joshua Tree National Park narrowly avoided a temporary closure due to begin on Thursday as a result of damage and sanitation issues caused by the partial government shutdown, park officials said Wednesday. The National Park Service used revenue from recreation fees to hire maintenance crews to clean up overflowing toilets and trash, officials said in a statement. The park reopened campgrounds and a number of hiking areas that were closed at the end of December as a result of the government shutdown. With the U.S. government now in the third week of a partial shutdown ― which has left 380,000 federal workers furloughed and another 420,000 working without pay ― Joshua Tree has found itself sorely understaffed and vulnerable to irresponsible visitors. Spokesman George Land said in a statement on Tuesday that the park had witnessed “incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days.”