Government Shutdown: In Joshua Tree, Travelers Look for a Plan B

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On an autumn morning like this one, they should be gearing up for a day of hiking amid the cacti, climbing up one of the more than 400 formations of high desert monzogranite or taking in the vista of Keyes View.

Joshua Tree Closed
A sign indicating that Joshua Tree National Park is closed because of the government shutdown. (credit: LA Times)

But instead of venturing into Joshua Tree National Park, visitors Tuesday were in a cafe just outside it, trying to figure what else to do or where they can go. Park rangers had turned them away. The visitor center next door was locked up, a “closed” sign hanging in the window.

“That’s not fair to the people,” Al Valerio, who had plans to spend the day exploring the park with his wife, said of the shutdown that had hindered his vacation plans.

He echoed the exasperation of many. “They need to think about the people,” he said of Congress, “not themselves.”

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