Joshua Tree National Park will remain open, federal officials announce

The National Park Service said on Wednesday it will keep California’s Joshua Tree National Park open by dipping into revenue generated by fees, averting a temporary closure planned for Thursday morning.

“In addition, recently closed areas of the park will once again be accessible to visitors starting January 10. Some visitor services, including campgrounds and entrance stations, will reopen utilizing recreation fee revenue,” the park service said in a news release.

It said that areas recently closed due to staffing and maintenance issues will reopen on Thursday as well. These include all campgrounds; Stirrup Tank Road; Lost Horse Mine Road and Trail; Key’s View Road; and the Rattlesnake Canyon Picnic Area and Road.

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Park service officials said in the news release that by using Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds to restart park maintenance and address sanitation issues, “the park will be able to maintain some visitor services, including reopening the campgrounds.”

In addition, staff will be brought in to ensure “protection of park resources and mitigate some of the damage that has occurred” during the partial federal government shutdown.

A funding crisis caused by a dispute between congressional leaders and the White House forced nearly a third of federal government workers to be furloughed, including most of the Interior Department, which manages the National Park Service. Parks had been allowed to remain open with skeleton crews, but some had to close over health and safety issues.

More: NPS plans to use entrance fees to keep major parks open during shutdown

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