the federal government shutdown ended.Joshua Tree National Park re-opened to visitors Thursday, one day after
The park had been closed since Oct. 1 due to the lapse in Congressional appropriations.
Most public areas and roads were immediately accessible while facilities and other
public services were brought back online, Jennie Kish Albrinck of the Park Service said in a statement.
"We are excited happy to be back at work and welcome visitors to Joshua Tree National Park," park Superintendent Mark Butler said. "Autumn is a particularly special season to enjoy all that Joshua Tree has to offer, and also marks the beginning of our busiest season."
All park visitor centers - Joshua Tree, Oasis, Cottonwood, and Black Rock - were opened by noon Oct. 17. Interpretive programs will resume on Saturday Oct. 26, Kish Albrinck said.
"Keys Ranch programs for this week will be conducted for previously scheduled tours," she said. "Any tours that were missed while the park was closed will be either rescheduled or refunded."
Maintenance crews went to work Thursday morning prepping campgrounds for opening. As of 1 p.m., all but Jumbo Rocks, which remains closed due to storm damage, were open and available for use.
A portion of the park loop road remained closed due to storm damage that occurred Sept. 7, 2013. The section from the north entrance, near the Oasis Visitor Center, to the turn-off to Cottonwood will remain closed until further notice. Jumbo Rocks Campground is closed for repairs due to the effects of the same storm.
"We are proud of the partnerships Joshua Tree National Park has with the communities surrounding the park and in the region, and we look forward to working cooperatively to mitigate the financial impacts of the closure," Butler said.
"We are grateful for your patience, and that our community partners and
park visitors honored the park closure. We are all looking forward to a wonderful fall and winter season at Joshua Tree."
For more info about Joshua Tree National Park call (760) 367-5500 or visit www.nps.gov.