While Joshua Tree National Park was unstaffed during the government shutdown, vandals broke in and cut down protected trees
The government shutdown is closing in on the end of its third week. TSA agents are quitting their jobs en masse. The FDA hasn’t been able to properly inspect our food. National parks have been getting trashed with litter and human waste without staff there to clean up after people. Trump won’t give this up until he gets funding to build an asinine wall between the U.S. and Mexico, so there’s no end in sight. Just when you thought this couldn’t get worse, oh, it got worse.
While the National Parks have been unstaffed, some vandal assholes took that as an opportunity to break into California’s Joshua Tree National Park, cut down several endangered, protected Joshua trees and drive their cars all over sensitive areas where driving is banned.
During the shutdown, with Joshua Tree National Park open but no staff on duty, visitors cut down Joshua trees so they could drive into sensitive areas where vehicles are banned.
— John Upton (@johnupton) January 10, 2019
“There are about a dozen instances of extensive vehicle traffic off roads and in some cases into wilderness,” Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith said. “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. Joshua trees were actually cut down in order to make new roads.”
Truly, what is wrong with people? It’s hard to even remember amid this shutdown mess that America has anything going for it at all. So naturally, during the shutdown, horrible humans felt the need to destroy one of the few things America definitely does have going for it: Its precious national park system.
And it gets worse.
“We had some pretty extensive four-wheel driving around the entire area to access probably our most significant tree in the park,” Smith said. “We have this hybrid live oak tree that is deciduous. It is one of our kind of iconic trees inside the park. People were driving to it and camping under it. Through the virgin desert to get to this location. That would probably be a quarter-mile or so around the rock formation that is there.”
As of Thursday, the entire park is closed. Joshua Tree rangers and officials are dipping into savings and visitor fees to bring in more staff and start making repairs.
This is why we can’t have nice things. This is what Trump’s giant tantrum over his useless border wall is accomplishing. Are we great again yet, America?