Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Joshua Tree Closes Temporarily to Repair Damage Caused During Shutdown

Politics

Joshua Tree National Park.

PHOTOSTOCK-ISRAEL / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

The government shutdown, now well into its third week, has taken a major toll on many iconic national parks, which have remained open to the public but severely understaffed. Now that toll is forcing one of them—Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California—to temporarily close its gates.


"Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close effective 8 am 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 park announced Tuesday.

The park, which covers some 800,000 acres of land in the Mojave and Colorado deserts, has faced problems since as early as half-a-week into the shutdown. On Dec. 26, 2018, The Los Angeles Times reported that visitors were littering, starting illegal fires and stringing Christmas lights on the park's namesake Joshua trees. The park already had to close campgrounds Jan. 2 as toilets reached capacity. Now, damage done by prohibited activities is forcing the entire park's temporary closure.

[Read about how national parks will start using visitor entrance fees to help with maintenance and safety.]

"While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree National Park 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 park wrote. "Law enforcement rangers will continue to patrol the park and enforce the closure until park staff complete the necessary cleanup and park protection measures."

The park said it would restore services in the coming days, but did not give a timetable. As per a controversial decision by the Interior Department, it will now be able to use visitor fees to help with maintenance.

Meanwhile, two California Democratic Representatives used the buildup of trash in national parks to make a point about the impacts of the government shutdown, which President Donald Trump refuses to end unless Congress allocates $5.7 billion in funding for the president's proposed border wall.

Representatives Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman collected trash at San Francisco's Lands End and Ocean Beach over the weekend, shipped three boxes worth to DC and hand-delivered them to the White House on Tuesday, McClatchyDC reported.

"Soon we'll have enough trash to build a wall, perhaps," Huffman told reporters, according to McClatchyDC.

Trump gave the first prime time Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night in order to mobilize public support for the wall as the second longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, The New York Times reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Oregano oil is an extract that is not as strong as the essential oil, but appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Peakpx / CC by 1.0

By Alexandra Rowles

Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.

However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets Ronaldo Caiado, governor of the state of Goiás on June 5, 2020. Palácio do Planalto / CC BY 2.0

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over the world's second worst coronavirus outbreak after the U.S., said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Read More Show Less
Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less
About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Hundreds of sudden elephant deaths in Botswana aren't just a loss for the ecosystem and global conservation efforts. Mario Micklisch / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Charli Shield

When an elephant dies in the wild, it's not uncommon to later find its bones scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.

Read More Show Less