Human Feces, Champagne Bottles and a Prom Dress: Joshua Tree Gets Trashed Amid Govt. Shutdown

Park Ranger Rob Evans places temporary barriers off the side of the road near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park on Dec. 29. (Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Park Ranger Rob Evans places temporary barriers off the side of the road near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park on Dec. 29. (Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

If Californians ever wondered how the state’s most majestic open spaces would fare without adult supervision, the partial federal government shutdown is offering a grim picture.

At Joshua Tree National Park, champagne bottles were left strewn on the desert floor on New Year’s morning, along with a prom dress. Someone had kicked one of the iconic trees, perhaps to see how sturdy it was. Human waste was piling up.

At Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree and beyond, the nearly two-week-long shutdown has taken a toll. Reports of vandalism, illegal camping and off-road driving have led to restricted operations.

Even under the best conditions, California’s popular outdoor destinations can strain under the throngs of visitors. But the skeleton crews and volunteers now patrolling the parks have shown how essential maintenance and rule enforcement are to keeping the order.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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