Government Shutdown Allows Shitheads to Destroy Precious Joshua Trees

With most of the park’s rangers furloughed, vandals and inconsiderate guests ran amok. A small number of the park’s namesake trees were outright destroyed. Replacing them may take centuries, according to conservationists.CreditCreditJae C. Hong/Associated Press

By Liam Stack

The partial government shutdown ended last week after 35 days, but conservationists have warned that its impact may be felt for hundreds of years in at least one part of the country: Joshua Tree National Park.

The Southern California park, which is larger than Rhode Island and famed for its dramatic rock formations and the spiky-leafed Joshua trees from which it takes it name, had only a skeleton crew of workers during the shutdown.

With most of its park rangers furloughed, vandals and inconsiderate guests ran amok. Gates and posts were toppled, new roads carved through the desert by unauthorized off-road drivers, and a small number of the park’s thousands of Joshua trees were outright destroyed, conservationists said.

Pictures posted to social media showed trees that were chopped down or that appeared to have been driven over by cars. The sensitive ecosystem of desert and craggy rock formations that surrounds them was littered with garbage and other telltale signs of illegal camping.

Most visitors to the park were well-behaved, said John Lauretig, a former park ranger who now runs Friends of Joshua Tree, a nonprofit group that organized a small army of volunteers to help clean the park during the shutdown.

“It was just a few vandals or people acting out of ignorance that caused these problems,” he said, reflecting on the broken trees. “Hopefully it’s not malice. Maybe they just didn’t see them.”You have 4 free articles remaining.Subscribe to The Times

The volunteer cleanup crew, which numbered about 100 people, cleaned bathrooms and repaired broken gates and fences. But, unlike those tasks, replanting and growing the park’s namesake Dr. Seussian trees takes a very long time.

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.Campgrounds at Joshua Tree National Park were blocked off after the federal government’s partial shutdown forced many park rangers to stay home.

Campgrounds at Joshua Tree National Park were blocked off after the federal government’s partial shutdown forced many park rangers to stay home.

“Because these trees are so big and they grow so slowly, it can take hundreds of years for a tree to mature,” Mr. Lauretig said. “We say they grow an inch a year, and in a wet year it might grow five inches or a foot but in a dry year it might not grow at all.”

At a rally on Saturday near the park, Curt Sauer, the former park superintendent who retired in 2010, agreed.

“What’s happened to our park in the last 34 days is irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years,” he told the crowd, according to The Desert Sun, a local newspaper. Mr. Sauer did not respond to messages seeking comment, nor did David Smith, the park’s current superintendent.

An online guide to Joshua trees published by the National Park Service identified them by the scientific name Yucca brevifolia, a form of yucca plant that is a member of the Agave family.

That taxonomy means it can be tricky to determine their age or to estimate the length of time it might take to a replace a destroyed specimen, Mr. Lauretig said.

“They’re yucca plants, so they don’t grow with rings, like a tree, so you can’t count their age that way,” Mr. Lauretig said. “All we can do is make estimates.”

According to the park-service guide, the plants — which it says are valued for their “grotesque appearance” — tend to grow at a rate of one-half inch to three inches per year, so conservationists often use a Joshua tree’s height to guess its age.

That’s a not-insignificant margin of error, though, caused in part by the erratic nature of the tree’s growth: Young ones can grow quickly for the first five years of their lives, only to slow down or pause for the next several years, the park said.

In short, there are a lot of unknowns. Especially when the trees get to be tall.

“The tallest Joshua tree in the park looms a whopping 40 feet high, a grand presence in the Queen Valley forest,” the park said. “Some researchers think an average life span for a Joshua tree is about 150 years, but some of our largest trees may be much older than that.”

PLEASE RE-POST

Please post these pics wherever you can. Let’s call a turd a turd. This kid is doing exactly what shit-head asshole bullies have been doing since they were doing it to me in High School and well before that. To call this anything but blatant bullying is lie. I hope to meet this useless piece oh shit one day – I have a lot of things saved up for him.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – wherever – Please let’s call this worthless rotten kid exactly what he is. After that, we can talk about forgiveness….LOL (SMILE)

Hey, Melania – WHERE ARE YOU? I thought bullying was your thing? REMEMBER? Did anybody translate this for her? Is this shithead really “Being Best?” – or whatever you called it???

Take Note! This from a friend in LA

Something very strange is going on. A friend (who is a permanent resident/green card holder) received a letter from the the town clerk saying that he was now registered to vote, which is weird because he has never registered to vote! He has always known that he isn’t allowed to vote until he becomes a US citizen.
I looked online and discovered it’s a crime to register to vote as a non-citizen and could result in deportation.
There was a Voter Registration Certificate included with the letter which named the DMV as the agency who registered him. So my friend called the DMV. The person who spoke with him there said they’ve been getting many calls about this from other people with the same issue and that these calls just started this week. Their records show that my friend hasn’t visited the DMV since a few years ago and they don’t know how he became registered to vote.
The date on the registration certificate says he registered to vote on January 23rd, 2017.
The DMV told him he should call the city and get his name removed from the registered voter list ASAP, which he did. Considering the date of his supposed registration, and considering the travel ban and everything else that has already happened with the new administration, including all the claims about massive voter fraud, we are suspicious that this event could be a ploy to deport legal residents who supposedly fraudulently registered to vote.
If you share this, copy and paste and share with “Public” so it will reach many.