Joshua Tree Is Officially Closing Due to the Government Shutdown

This comes despite local efforts to clean the park and prevent vandalism.

Rand Abbott, a high desert resident, paraplegic and rock climber wasn’t about to let the government shutdown destroy his beloved Joshua Tree National Park. For the last couple weeks, the passionate park lover has been a fixture on the property.

According to the LA Times, “Abbott, one of dozens of ardent volunteers helping out in the park, figures he’s spent nearly $5,000 on bleach, rags and garbage bags and driven 702 miles while cleaning overflowing toilets, picking up garbage and documenting the mess from his wheelchair.

“’When I was in the Marines, the others guys took leave in Las Vegas or the Sunset Strip,’ he recalled with a smile. ‘I’d come here, toss a sleeping bag down and stare at the Milky Way, which seemed so close I could reach up and scoop up stars.’”

But sadly, even his efforts couldn’t stop the park from closure. As of yesterday, January 17th, the park shut down to evaluate damage from vandals and address sanitation issues. You can read more about Abbott and the closures in Joshua Tree here.

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