GoTraveler / YouTube Joshua Tree National Park 1547301948.jpg...
GoTraveler / YouTube

Due to the government shut down, the namesake trees at Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs, CA, have fallen to vandals wielding chainsaws. Just for fun, I can only guess.

Jeanna Bryner at Live Science writes.

Joshua trees are beautiful, but humans can be pretty awful.

That’s what park rangers learned during the first week or so of the partial government shutdown.

Joshua Tree National Park is about the size of Delaware, but only eight law-enforcement rangers were tasked with protecting the 1,238 square mile (3,207 square kilometers) wonderland during the shutdown.

The result? Visitors did not play by the rules, cutting illegal roads, chopping down the park’s most famous occupants — the Joshua trees — and damaging federal property, according to the nonprofit National Parks Traveler.

“There are about a dozen instances of extensive vehicle traffic off roads and in some cases into wilderness,” said the park’s superintendent David Smith, as reported by National Parks Traveler. “We have two new roads that were created inside the park. We had destruction of government property with the cutting of chains and locks for people to access campgrounds. We’ve never seen this level of out-of-bounds camping. Every day use area was occupied every evening.” [All Yours: 10 Least Visited National Parks]

Smith added, “Joshua trees were actually cut down in order to make new roads.”

The NPS introduction for the park reads:

Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California.

I get furious about all of these outages we have to endure.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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