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Joshua Tree Reopens, With Restrictions

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(Courtesy National Park Service)
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Joshua Tree is among the first National Parks to open to visitors since they were closed due to the pandemic.

But not everything is open: Visitor centers and group campsites remain closed and park programs are cancelled. But trails, most bathrooms, regular campsites, roads and parking lots are now open.

Some campsite reservations can be made on recreation.gov. Other sites inside the park can be reserved in person, on a first-come, first-served basis, until Sept. 4, 2020.

Kenji Haroutunian with the nonprofit Friends of Joshua Tree says there's a silver lining post-closure. He says plants have been spotted sprouting on popular unpaved trails:

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"They have wildflowers growing and native grasses and other plants that are taking root there in what would have been heavily-trafficked areas."

He says there have also been more wildlife sightings at Barker Dam and other watering holes nearby.

Redwood National Park up north also reopened, beginning May 19, although restaurants, parking lots and visitor centers there will remain closed.

If you're headed to Joshua Tree, some advice: bring plenty of water. There's none at the park. There's also no cell service...so, plan accordingly.

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