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Opinion

Readers React: This Marine veteran keeping Joshua Tree clean is our hero of the shutdown

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Rand Abbott of Joshua Tree, Calif., carries extra toilet paper to refill a bathroom stall after cleaning it in Joshua Tree National Park on Jan. 8.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Kudos and endless appreciation for Rand Abbott for taking it upon himself to clean up Joshua Tree National Park. The money, effort and time he put into his work should be applauded, if not compensated.

I understand that keeping a national park open requires some regular cleaning of the bathroom and trash removal — that’s a given. But it’s shameful to read about the graffiti, the desecration, the carelessness of people who claim to love Joshua Tree. I can’t believe people are so slovenly and lazy, especially when they know there is a partial government shutdown and the park’s staying open is, well, kind of up to us.

Bless Abbott for trying. I’m sorry he is getting angry responses from rude park-goers when he tries to inform the public. He is really a trouper and doing a yeoman’s job of single-handedly trying to keep Joshua Tree open and available to everyone.

Mr. Abbott, I appreciate you. Please know that.

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Ellen Chris, West Hills

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To the editor: The article reports: “With no rangers in sight for roughly three weeks, visitors have fought over official campsites and driven through off-limit areas to create illegal encampments. They have littered, set illegal fires, defecated in the wild, and chopped down vegetation to drive around barriers intended to keep people out of sensitive wildlife corridors.”

Why do people who clearly have no respect for our beautiful natural areas even go to Joshua Tree? There are plenty of places where these entitled people can destroy the land. Obviously they’re unable to control themselves long enough to just take in and enjoy natural beauty.

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Close the parks until the rangers can return and can maintain order.

Suzanne Brugman, La Habra Heights

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To the editor: It was heartening to read about the caring volunteers who stepped forward to clean up Joshua Tree as President Trump’s malicious government shutdown continues.

I’d like to think this small example of community commitment could be a metaphor for a citizenry stepping forward to clean up the worldwide mess Trump will leave when he is finally out of office.

It will be a very big job, but there are many good people in the country.

Spencer Grant, Laguna Niguel

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