Upgrades planned for Joshua Tree to ease park crowds

California

(NPS Photo)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (AP) — A revamped entrance and visitor centers are in the works to help ease crowds after a surge in tourism to Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park.

Annual attendance has nearly doubled in the past five years, leading to hour-long waits to enter the park 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of Los Angeles and crammed parking lots, The Desert Sun reported Saturday.

The Park Service has plans to demolish a fee booth and construct a new one with additional entry and exit lanes and automated fee pay stations. That project is expected to be completed by 2022.

(NPS Photo)

There are also plans for new visitors’ centers to accommodate larger crowds. A 5,000-square-foot visitor center in Twentynine Palms, California — which will replace an existing 600-square-foot space — will include educational exhibits and an outdoor stage for community events.

On the other side of the park, the Park Service will replace a trailer that serves as a center for visitor information with a new building with space for sales and exhibits. Officials also have plans to redesign a park campground following an increase in tent camping there.

“We need to keep these places preserved forever, as they are, but allow for their enjoyment today,” said David Smith, the park’s superintendent. “It’s a constant battle for any manager to figure out where you are on that spectrum.”

The park is known for crazy-limbed trees with clusters of green spikes.

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.