Joshua Tree National Park has closed all campgrpunds on January 2nd. The park has done its best to be accessible for folks during trumps shutdown and the community of the High Desert in Mojave Desert have been working together in volunteer cleanups, restocking pit toilets with toilet paper, cleaning out toilets and educating visiting tourist in how to help. Cliffhanger Guides (local climbing guide company) have stepped up to clean the park, and Friends of Joshua Tree have donated money towards items needed to cleanup the park and are accepting donations at Nomad Adventures in JTree and at Coyote Corner. There are daily meet ups the Cliffhanger Hq (next to Coyote Cormer) at 10am of folks gathering in teams to head into the park to clean it up. We have a good community here who cares about the park. But, in my view this clousure will push those who are camping into other areas like BLM which sees enough traffic where the imprint of human waste is left behind. Though there is efforts by the community to educate visitors and their airbnb guest on ways to help reduce the impact of heavy traffic during this time of the shutdown, it is not enough. More and more folks are illegally camping, people taking their dogs off leash and on trails that they should not be on, off roading, possibly building illegal fire pits, illegally driving off road vehicles on land that shouldn’t be driven on. All of this will end in a complete park shut down.
If you must visit any parks during the shutdown, take trash bags with you and roles of toilet paper, haul out your trash and be kind to haul out the trash you pick up. Stay on designated trails, use vault toilets, stay on the roads, park in designated parking areas. Respect the land, flora and fauna and PLEASE DO NOT hang, climb, stand, walk on, hang hammocks, slacklines, silk ropes on Joshua Trees and this includes Juniper Trees. Most folks only think it is the Joshua Trees that are an issue but it also includes Juniper trees.
The Young Turks covered the shutdown and it’s effects on the environment. The federal government is not to blame for this. I don’t get political in my post but I will now, this shutdown is because of trump and his pouting over not getting his multimillion dollar wall. This is not federal government as employees of the government are not getting paid. This shutdown is not only impacting Mother Nature which trump obviously doesn’t care about but it’s also impacting those who work for the government in financial ways.
Though we do not want to see the park close completely, it is wise that people carry their waste out, I mean human waste. If pit toilets close do to the fact that their is no money for a the waste to be hauled out, then consider a wag bag, pee in a bottle. We can not have human waste destroying the environment. Donate to Friends of Joshua Tree to help the efforts of maintaining the park during this shutdown