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Stay away, forget about camping, JTNP officials urge

“We’d rather people not show up and be disappointed — and never come back.”

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Once in, don’t expect smooth sailing; there is a “solid stream” of cars on many roads; and forget about camping,” a park spokesman urges

“The campgrounds have been full since before Christmas,” said George Land, park spokesman. “We’ve had over-mile-long backups at the entrance station, trying to get into the park.”

Land is talking about the west entrance at Joshua Tree Village, the place to which many GPS systems steer motorists.

He recommends entering through the north entrance at Twentynine Palms or the Cottonwood entrance off the 10 Freeway.

 “When it is every bit as crowded as the Santa Monica Freeway at rush hour, that kind of takes away from the whole wilderness park experience,” Land said.

Park officials recommend:

  • Meeting friends and family outside the park and carpooling in. That saves time and money, as park entry fees cover everyone in the vehicle.
  • Arriving at the park before 8 a.m.
  • Using an alternate entrance.
  • Visiting other natural attractions such as Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve.
  • Camping at private campgrounds outside the park. Officials said the Bureau of Land Management offers free dispersed camping to the north and south.
  • Bringing plenty of drinking water.

The park is on pace to set another visitation record for 2017, eclipsing the mark of 2.6 million visitors set last year, Land said.

“We love to see people coming out to the park,” said he, who added that with the conditions this weekend, “We’d rather people not show up and be disappointed — and never come back.”

Information: https://NPS.gov/JoshuaTree/PlanYourVisit

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