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Joshua Tree National Park Recovering From Flooding


Some areas of Joshua Tree National Park that were hit by flash flooding earlier this month are scheduled to reopen on Friday. NPS photo of flood damage to the Pinto Basin Road.

Joshua Tree National Park, which was hit hard by flash floods on September 13, will reopen some areas along the Pinto Basin Road on Friday, according to park officials.

Park officials say a section of the road running south from White Tank Campground for about 9 miles to the Ocotillo Patch pullout will reopen at noon on Friday. This will allow public access to the popular Cholla Cactus Garden. Also opening at noon on Friday are all park campgrounds and campsites that were closed for the summer due to low visitation.

This means that for Friday night all park campgrounds except Cottonwood Campground will be fully open for normal visitor use. Cottonwood Campground will remain closed due to flood damage.

“Park road crews are working with Federal Highways Administration engineers to determine how quickly and under what circumstances the Pinto Basin Road can be safely reopened," said park Superintendent Mark Butler. "We are looking at a phased reopening of the Pinto Basin Road that will allow us to provide visitor access while ensuring public safety.

"Significant flooding occurred in several areas and crews are working as hard and as fast as they can to repair the damage," he added. "For their own safety, we ask the public to observe and respect posted closures so that essential repair work can be accomplished as fast as possible."

The following park areas remain closed due to flood damage:

* Cottonwood Campground

* Cottonwood Visitor Center

* Cottonwood Springs

* Black Eagle Mine Road

* Old Dale Road

* Pinkham Canyon Road

* Thermal Canyon Road

* All hiking trails originating at Cottonwood Springs.

The park also announces that the public meeting originally scheduled for September 16 to discuss alternatives for reconstruction of Park Rt. 11, the Pinto Basin Road, has been rescheduled for Friday September 30 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The meeting will be held in the Resources Building Conference Room at Park Headquarters, 74485 National Park Drive in Twentynine Palms.

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