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Joshua Tree National Park reopens with new rules but residents have concerns

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Joshua Tree National Park has reopened to visitors for the first time since the April 1 closure. Even before the full closure to visitors, the park had restricted access then due to to concerns of the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

Mixed reactions on Monday after an official full day of the reopening of Joshua Tree National Park. It's been shutdown since the end of March. 

"There's so many things that could happen and we don't know and now we're inviting the whole world back in," said Carrie Dagher.

Carrie Dagher is worried about out-of-towners flocking to her Joshua Tree neighborhood again as stay at home orders still remain in place.

"If you are going to open up a giant national park that welcomes millions of visitors into your town they are going to touch everything besides the national park," said Dagher. "They are going to go in our stores and we still have to go shopping and live."


Joshua Tree National Park shut down to visitors on April 1st. Dagher said the closure didn't stop the visitors.

Brian Rennie, who lives adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park.


"I think its a good thing actually," said Rennie. "People need to get outdoors, they are really having problems with that and I think that it's not that big of deal here in the park as it would be other places, where it's more confined."

One visitor, who stopped by enjoyed the open trails.

"Oh, I am really excited," said Parker Staples. "I always thought this was one of the prettiest places."

According to park officials, visitors have access to all entrances and fees will not be collected.

"oh wow, really? thats awesome," said Staples. "I am glad that now that everything has settled down a little bit people are allowed to come out and enjoy the nature."

People who visit the park now are urged to continue practicing social distancing by avoiding congested or narrow trails.

It is highly recommended that hikers carry a mask.

Joshua Tree National Park's Superintendent, David Smith said group campsites and visitor centers will remain closed as they follow both Riverside and San Bernardino county public health official orders.

"It was done based on their recommendations on what are safe activities that people can engage in inside a national park such as sightseeing, hiking on a trail, camping with your family or your household," said Smith. "Those are all defined as safe ways to enjoy your park right now."

Here's a look at what is open at Joshua Tree National Park:

  • Park entrances. Entrance stations will be staffed regularly but will not be collecting fees.
  • Roads and parking lots
  • Trails
  • Family campsites
  • Most bathroom facilities
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Dani Romero

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