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Friday, March 17, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park Inundated With Visitors

Above, The Beast at Cottonwood Springs Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Given its close proximity to a big population center, it is not surprising that Joshua Tree National Park is seeing rising numbers of visitors.

SF Gate has posted an article on the park and the problems increasing numbers of visitors are causing.

It begins with:
More than two and a half million people visited Joshua Tree National Park in 2016 — 60 percent more than just two years before — and officials who work there are pulling double (and triple) duties to keep the park operating smoothly. 
George Land, the park's public information officer and wearer of many hats, says he and other senior officials have had to do things like direct parking in addition to their normal responsibilities because the federal government is under a hiring freeze. Although the park's visitors have just about doubled since six years ago, they still have the same approximate number of staffers. 
That sort of thing can create problems for the park's well-being. 
Land says that the rise in people coming to Joshua Tree can result in two types of damage: one comes from maliciously-minded visitors who bring in spray cans to graffiti rocks or cut down Joshua trees for firewood; the other is accidental, or is the result of a visitor's naïveté. 
Above, the park entrance from Interstate 10. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

However, the article has two errors that I spotted immediately. First, the Trump federal hiring freeze does NOT affect the hiring of seasonal temporary workers for any of the national parks. Second, the article states that there's no water in the park. There's water available for filling canteens to RV fresh water tanks at the campgrounds.

To read more, go here.

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