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Joshua Tree closes oasis trail so bighorn can access water

Joshua tree
Posted at 9:58 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 12:58:39-04

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — The popular trail to the Fortynine Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park has been temporarily closed so that bighorn sheep can have undisturbed access to the water.

“The park is under extreme drought conditions and herds in the area are increasingly reliant on the oasis spring to survive the hot summer months,” a park statement said.

The closure began June 1 and will remain in effect until summer monsoons provide enough rainfall to increase the availability of water.

The oasis is surrounded by palms in mountains on the northern side of the park.

The park also warned hikers that summer temperatures on trails can reach more than 120 degrees (49 Celsius), so hikes should begin before or at sunrise and be completed by 10 a.m., or not begin until after 4 p.m., to avoid risk of heat illness and death.