February 3, 2012 -
The fan palm oasis at Cottonwood Spring, Lost Palms Oasis Trail, and the Mastodon Mine Loop Trail, which were closed last September due to flooding, are once again open for park visitors to enjoy. Cottonwood Campground remains closed, as is the wash immediately below Cottonwood Spring. Park visitors are cautioned to obey all remaining closures.
On September 13, a thunderstorm dumped more than three inches of rain on the Cottonwood area washing out Pinto Basin Road and damaging Cottonwood Campground and cultural and historic features near Cottonwood Spring. Pinto Basin Road was reopened in late October and Cottonwood Visitor Center opened on November 3. Park crews are presently repairing picnic tables, grills, and eroded campsites for the scheduled reopening of Cottonwood Campground on February 17.
One benefit from last fall's rain is the presence of early spring wildflowers in the southern part of Joshua Tree National Park. More than 60 species of desert wildflowers are blooming in the area, and the park recently issued its first spring wildflower report.