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Joshua Tree National Park temporarily closing to fix damage amid shutdown

Parks, Smithsonian closed due to shutdown

Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close this week to address damage and sanitation problems that have occurred during the partial federal government shutdown. The National Park Service (NPS) said the closure, set for 8 a.m. Thursday, follows incidents of off-roading and destruction of the park's namesake Joshua trees.

Officials said they plan to restore access and limited basic services "in the coming days" but gave no firm time frame.

The service said officials are identifying resources needed to address "maintenance and sanitation issues" and said it will use funds from park fees to address the problems.

The NPS said Sunday it was taking the "extraordinary step" of using visitors' fees to keep some parks open and fund cleanup efforts as the shutdown drags on. Trash and human waste had been building up at parks around the country that were unstaffed due to the lapse in funding.

Joshua Tree National Park sprawls over hundreds of thousands of acres of the Mojave and Colorado deserts east of Los Angeles. Visitors who previously made reservations at the park can request a refund at recreation.gov.

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A closed and blocked campground at the Joshua Tree National Park on Jan. 3, 2019. Getty
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