(Photo: Manish Mamtani, www.sharetheexperience.org)

Photo: Manish Mamtani, www.sharetheexperience.org

Support Joshua Tree National Park, One of California’s Gems

December 12, 2017

A National Park In Your Own Backyard

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the 58 national parks run by the National Park Service. Their goal is to preserve the ecological and historical integrity while allowing the public to appreciate and enjoy its beauty.

Named after the town of Joshua Tree, the preservation is located just over half an hour away, consisting of two desert communities: the Mojave and the Colorado Desert. It boasts a large biodiversity with its tough desert plants and survivor animals.

Though the wildlife has survived so far, global warming is expected to bring hotter temperatures, drought, insect outbreaks and wildfire at an increased rate. Additionally, the habitable areas in the park will shrink and animals will perish.

Along with this danger, national park prices are on the rise. Less money is being put aside to give to parks; so during peak visiting seasons, the price of admission into the park is being increased to help with the upkeep of the parks. Although only 118 of the 417 national parks charge entrance fees, the highest grossing 17 parks account for 70 percent of the fees. This is due to the budget cuts proposed by President Trump, whose proposals would cost the parks a total of $296.6 million. Of the 17 affected, the local Joshua Tree National park is one of them. Stop by to support to support your local national park.

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Advice to Future Adventurers

Joshua Tree National Park had a special free entry day on Nov. 10. Some of my friends and I took it upon ourselves to capitalize on that fact to plan a trip. It was originally meant to be an overnight camping trip; due to certain circumstances, we decided that it would be best to take a single day hiking trip. We worked together to facilitate the trip and had a blast. I learned a lot about what is required for planning this sort of a trip. It was definitely a great experience, and I’d like to pass on some tips to make sure anyone else organizing a trip of this sort may succeed in doing so:

Tip #1: Take into account that cell service is low within the park. If your parents are the type to worry easily, make sure to either schedule time at the visitor’s to contact them (signal is usually stronger here and other phones can be available) or consider investing in a satellite phone rental. They do not cost much at all to rent for a couple of days, especially when the price is split among the group. Another thing to keep in mind is that the GPS on your phone may not work, so I strongly consider writing out the directions beforehand so that you do not get lost.

Tip #2: Keep it simple. This applies to the group as well as the activities you complete. A smaller group is easier to plan for, especially the first time, even if a larger group seems more glamorous. Keep your plans flexible. There are a lot of cool activities in the park, especially if there are special demonstrations, like the astronomers who were there during our trip. If you keep your options open, it will be easier to take advantage of any new opportunity that you might come across.

And of course, some general camping and hiking advice to ensure the success of your trip: Protect yourself against the sun by bringing a hat, bandana, sunscreen, etc. Bring plenty of food. You’ll be more hungry than usual after a day of hiking. Bring plenty of water. The average person needs to intake two liters of water per day or about eight cups, and that’s not factoring exercise or heat — so bring at least twice this amount.

In general, be exceedingly safe in everything you do, even if you feel it is redundant. Always take precautions by bringing the right equipment and remaining calm and thoughtful about your actions. Nature can be dangerous to any unprepared human. Good luck and safe travels!

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