Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close Thursday due to damage done during the partial government shutdown, the park said Tuesday.
Visitor access will be cut off beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday to allow park staff to address "sanitation, safety and resource protection issues" that took place in the park during the shutdown, which has entered its third week.
"While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree National Park do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure," the park said.
Funds from park fees will be utilized to address the issues, in keeping with guidance from the National Park Service, which announced Sunday that it will use reserved money from visitor fees to fund operations of parks affected by shutdown.
Law enforcement rangers will also continue to patrol the park and enforce the closure until the necessary cleanup and protection measures are completed.
Given the current amount of resources available to the park and the nature of the damage, park spokesman George Land told the Los Angeles Times it is likely the park will remain closed until the shutdown is resolved.
"The way it looks right now because of resources or lack thereof, we have about eight rangers that oversee a large park, we will remain closed until appropriations are put into place to reopen," Land said.