The unprecedented 35-day government Shutdown took a heavy toll on the Environment of Joshua Tree National Park. During this period, the 1,235 square miles park was unattended and a section of the visitors destroyed the surroundings. There was rampant vandalism and they littered the place, damaged trees, painted graffiti, and ruined trails. They also went to the extent of creating new roads and cutting down Joshua trees. Normally, at the time of shutdowns, the parks remain out of bounds for visitors but this was an exception.

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The Guardian reports about the pitiful state of affairs due to the longest ever government shutdown and lack of ranger supervision because of the furlough of federal workers. In the opinion of Curt Sauer, the former superintendent of Joshua Tree national park, it will take years to restore normalcy to the park. He was in charge of the park for seven years.

National Parks require continuous ranger supervision

Visitors come to National Parks to be in the arms of nature and enjoy the scenic beauty.

Supervision by rangers is an important aspect to oversee the safety of the visitors who might take unnecessary risks and endanger their lives. During this government shutdown, there were reports of deaths in National Parks. With thousands of federal workers furloughed and a lack of adequate supervision, the environment deteriorated with litter that left the surroundings unhygienic.

The Guardian adds that authorities of the park said unknown persons not only cut down the Joshua trees but also created two new roads inside the park, and destroyed government property.

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Volunteers did take up the challenge and assisted in the cleanup because of the absence of the regulars. However, the beauty of the park has taken a beating and it will be will be a long-drawn process to restore its glory. John Lauretig, an official of a nonprofit group says – “The local community is fed up with our parks being held hostage.”

Implications of the government shutdown

According to the Sacramento Bee, the rugged desert expanse known as Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California near Palm Springs.

The shortage of rangers due to the shutdown led to large-scale vandalism and will take decades to become normal.

The park had to do with a skeleton staff of only eight law enforcement rangers who had to cover the large area. A vegetation specialist describes the unique Joshua trees as spiky and contorted. They can reach a height of up to 40 feet and have a life span of 150 years or more. Vandals cut down many of these trees. President Donald Trump imposed the shutdown because Congress was not sanctioning funds of $5.7 billion he wanted for constructing the proposed US - Mexico border wall.

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