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Contact: George Land, 760-367-5507
Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, CA — Due to extremely hot and dry conditions, park management has closed 49 Palms Oasis to visitors. Hikers will be allowed approximately one-half mile on the trail before signage closes off the route into the oasis. Park wildlife ecologist Michael Vamstad said, “While we hesitate to close a popular hiking area in the park, dwindling water sources make it necessary. Desert bighorn sheep will not come down to drink if visitors are in the area." If the park determines the closure is being violated, the entire area will be closed to the public. The closure will remain in effect until further notice and reopening will depend on the levels of significant rainfall.Visitors to the park are reminded there is an excessive heat warning in effect for the next several days. Rangers recommend being aware of your health and fitness level when hiking in the park. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen as well as appropriate clothing and headgear. If you do choose to hike, start early in the morning and finish early. Keep in mind, dogs are not allowed on trails and are particularly vulnerable to extreme desert heat.