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Analysis: Are recent claims that shutdown damage to Joshua Tree NP is “irreparable” exaggerated?

While the U.S. government was partially shut down for 35 days, the country's national parks suffered damage that could last generations. Now, as volunteers and conservationists assess the environmental and economic damage around the country, it seems that Joshua Tree National Park — a wonderland of spiky trees and surreal, time-sculpted rocks in Southern California — has experienced some of the worst damage.

"What's happened to our park in the last 34 days is irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years," Curt Sauer, a former superintendent of the park, said at a rally on Saturday (Jan. 26).

However, that estimate might be a bit overstated, according to one expert Live Science spoke to.

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