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Swarming bees cause Joshua Tree NP to close camp ground

From HiDesertStar.com 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 8 2009 — Joshua Tree National Superintendent Curt Sauer on Wednesday, July 8 ordered Jumbo Rocks Campground closed temporarily due to safety concerns raised by the presence of swarming bees, park Chief of Interpretation Joe Zarki said in a press release.

The closure went into effect at noon Wedneday and was expected to remain in force until noon Monday, Aug. 10.

To compensate for the campsites closed at Jumbo Rocks, park offials reopened Ryan Campground, located 6 miles west of Jumbo Rocks, Zarki said.

In recent days, campers at Jumbo Rocks have been harried by swarms of non-aggressive, but persistent, swarms of bees seeking moisture, he said. As seasonal dry conditions deepen before the onset of summer monsoonal rains, bees will actively seek out moisture from any available source including car radiators, coolers, drink containers, trash cans, restrooms, and even sweat on human skin.

 Though bees seeking moisture do not generally sting, their close, constant presence can negatively affect visitor enjoyment and create an unsafe condition, especially for those allergic to bee stings, Zarki said. 

Park biologists will monitor the bee activity at Jumbo Rocks during the closure. If bee activity diminishes, the campground will be reopened, he said.

Ryan Campground was closed in June as part of a routine summer closure due to normal reduced camping demand during the hot summer months. It will remain open until further notice, Zarki said.

For more information and updates on visiting the park online to www.nps.gov/jotr or call (760) 67-5500.

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