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Experts at Joshua Tree National Park Warn Damage Caused by the Shutdown Could Take “Centuries” to Heal


The government may have reopened last week after more than a month of a shutdown, but not everything is back to normal just yet. And for Park Rangers at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, things may never be “normal” during our lifetime due to the damage the vast park experienced during the 35-day shutdown. 

As The New York Times reports, the park had minimal staffing during the shutdown, and with most of the rangers furloughed for the entirety of the shutdown, the park suffered significant damages — thanks to vandals and unwelcome guests at the park, who disregarded the signs and vandalized the park. Pictures have surfaced showing damage and destruction to the famed Joshua trees, unauthorized off-road drivers on the premises, and litter sprawled all over the place, destroying the ecosystem of the desert (and hinting at illegal camping at the national park).