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Joshua Tree National Park to close amid US government shutdown

Wednesday - January 9, 2019 3:12 pm , Category : HEALTH
San Francisco, Jan 9 (IANS) The Joshua Tree National Park in California, one of the most popular in the US, will be temporarily closed from Thursday due to damage caused by visitors during the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, officials said.
In a statement, the Park said on Wednesday that, from 8 a.m. Thursday, the national park would temporarily close to the public for "cleanup and repair" operations, reports Efe news.
"Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close effective 8 a.m. on Thursday, 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 partial government shutdown which began on December 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 (and receives about 2.8 million visitors annually.

--IANS ksk/vm