Joshua Tree National Park to temporarily close amid US government shutdown
A sign reads 'Campgrounds Closed' near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA, Jan. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/MIKE NELSON
A sign reads 'Closed' at the Black Rock Canyon Campground that has been closed due to the US government shutdown in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA, Jan. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/MIKE NELSON
The road accessing Keys View is closed in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA, Jan. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/MIKE NELSON
Los Angeles, USA, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- Joshua Tree National Park in California, one of the most popular in the United States, will be closed temporarily from Jan. 10 due to damage caused by visitors during the ongoing the partial federal government shutdown, officials said.
In a statement, the Park said that, from 8am Thursday, the national park would temporarily close to the public for "cleanup and repair" operations.
"Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close effective 8am 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", the statement said.
"While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree 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," the statement added.
The partial government shutdown which began on Dec. 22 has resulted in a significant reduction of resources at natural reserves across the country, which have reported problems of garbage accumulation and visitors not paying entry fees due to lack of controls at entry points.
Although the statement did not mention any timeline, Joshua Tree spokesperson George Land told the the Los Angeles Times that the park would remain closed until financial endowments allowed it to reopen.
Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California stretches across approximately 325,000 hectares (80,3092 acres) and receives about 2.8 million visitors annually.