Climbers clean up Joshua Tree National Park

Climbers volunteering in the Joshua Tree Facelift on October 22 pose in front of graffiti before cleaning the rock. (Photo by Michael Chow)

Climbers and locals came together to give the national park a makeover in the inaugural Joshua Tree Facelift event.

Eighty climbers and locals from the Yosemite Climbing Association, Friends of Joshua Tree and Cliffhanger Guides organized the first Joshua Tree Facelift to clean up the park on October 22.

“Volunteers hold life together here in Joshua Tree. We have our volunteer climbing stewards that respond to climbing emergencies 24/7,” said David Smith, the superintendent for the National Park Service in Joshua Tree National Park. “We could not have cleaned up this place without volunteers organizing and coming to this event.”

In 2021, Joshua Tree National Park broke its historical visitation record with 3.1 million visitors in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Smith, the number of visitors has increased by 130% in the past 10 years while the number of climbers has doubled. This has led to an increase in trash and graffiti, he said.

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