Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Joshua Tree National Park to Temporarily Close Thursday Due to Govt. Shutdown

January 8, 2019

(KNX 1070/CBS News) - Joshua Tree National Park says it'll temporarily close on Thursday because of the partial government shutdown.

The park has been open since the shutdown but there have only been a small group of rangers to watch things.

Volunteers led by Cliffhanger Guides have been cleaning up trash left behind and maintaining restrooms.

The volunteer supporters cleaning up Joshua Tree are killing it. Not only is this bathroom damn near spotless, that’s some comfy 2 ply softness they’re supplying - none of that gubment issue sandpaper! Off to find a place to donate to them online... #whatgovernmentshutdown

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Office Manager Zachary Karcher with Cliffhanger Guides tells KNX...this will hurt business but says it's a good move.

"We did as much as we could during these last few weeks of the shutdown to try to minimize the impact of park usage without government presence. We kind of anticipated that if the shutdown was to continue, it would ultimately end up with the park being shut down."

All visitors will have to leave the park by 8 in the morning on Thursday.

#mastodontrail #nationalparks

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Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close to address damage and sanitation problems that have occurred during the partial federal government shutdown. The National Park Service (NPS) said the closure, set for 8 a.m. Thursday, follows incidents of off-roading and destruction of the park's namesake Joshua trees.

Officials said they plan to restore access and limited basic services "in the coming days" but gave no firm time frame.

The service said officials are identifying resources needed to address "maintenance and sanitation issues" and said it will use funds from park fees to address the problems. 

The NPS said Sunday it was taking the "extraordinary step" of using visitors' fees to keep some parks open and fund cleanup efforts as the shutdown drags on. Trash and human waste had been building up at parks around the country that were unstaffed due to the lapse in funding.

Joshua Tree National Park sprawls over hundreds of thousands of acres of the Mojave and Colorado deserts east of Los Angeles. Visitors who previously made reservations at the park can request a refund at recreation.gov.

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