Joshua Tree National Park to Close Thursday Due to Damage During Shutdown

Joshua Tree National Park will close to all visitors Thursday because of damage to the park during the partial government shutdown. The closure will likely continue through the duration of the shutdown, now in its third week. Without rangers on hand, visitors created new roads by driving off the pavement and defaced the park’s namesake Joshua trees, a park spokesman said Tuesday. The 790,636-acre park in Southern California will close at 8 a.m. Thursday. “The way it looks right now because of resources or lack thereof, we have about eight rangers that oversee a large park, we will remain closed until appropriations are put into place to reopen,” spokesman George Land said Tuesday. “Law enforcement rangers will continue to patrol the park and enforce the closure until park staff completes the necessary cleanup and park protection measures,” according to a park statement issued Tuesday.