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Renderings of new JTNP West Entrance Station are shown above.

Google map (left) with proposed location of new JTNP West Entrance Station are shown above.  Google map (right) shows where vehicle headlight beams will project into the desert/surrounding neighbors while parked/leaving the new entrance station.


   JTNP Acting Superintendent Jane Rodgers

   JTNP Superintendent David Smith

   San Bernardino Field Representative Mark Lundquist

Monday, July 26 at 5:00 - 6:00pm


Purpose:  a virtual discussion was held about the current state and future plans for the construction of the new JTNP West Entrance Station with the Monument Manor Neighborhood Association(MMNA)!  Both Park Superintendents Jane Rodgers and David Smith and San Bernardino County Field Rep Mark Lundquist will be there to take your questions and map out the process for groundbreaking, currently scheduled for end-of-summer 2022.


Attendance:  Linda Doyle, Bill Gilman, Jane Rodgers, David Smith, Mark Lundquist, Will Harner, Brian Rennie, Kevin Powell, Diane Thornburg, Mark Lundquist, Mary Ann Kelly, Phil Spinelli, Daniel Brenner, Ken Lord, Caroline Conway, Luke Sabala, Mark Wheeler, Dave Cox, Chris Crow, Kenneth Lord, Ellen Holden, and two unidentified individuals.

The meeting was recorded and can be viewed at:



Superintendent David Smith began the discussion.  He is currently working a detail in the National Park Service San Francisco office and is out-of-park for two months.  Jane Rodgers is now the acting superintendent for Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) while David Smith is away.  Superintendent Smith gave initial comments stating that he has been part of the Joshua Tree area family for a long time.  He recalled that in 1996-97, there was a traffic issue along Quail Springs.  At that time there were 1 million visitors to the JTNP annually.   The area has seen significant changes and Superintendent Smith acknowledge that these changes have impacted all our lives. He also recalled that almost every single weekend in 2013 that there was a long of cars waiting to get into the park. Over the years Superintendent Smith has used different tactics to minimize time waiting to get into park entrance.  He reminded the group that the job of paying for construction of the new kiosk falls to JTNP itself.  For the last 5 years they have been saving up money to pay for the new kiosk.  Legal requirements need to be met, they have received approval to build the new kiosk from San Francisco regional NPS office.  Superintendent Smith does not like to “flush” the traffic backed up because of the loss of revenue.  He has used volunteers and ranges to waive through pass holders to help prevent backups (and the help capture daily paying visitors so JTNP does not lose revenue by opening the gate completely.  Last year rangers started walking the line issuing passes to people waiting in line in their cars and he feels that the lines were smaller as a result of this strategy. Superintendent Smith said that they fully intended to start construction this fall but some challenges arose to push the timeline back.

Acting Superintendent Jane Rodgers continued this discussion providing more information about why kiosk is being pushed back until next summer.  She stated that the money is the biggest issue and had to pivot to save money to work on other projects.  She stated that in 2016-2017-2018, it was clear that kiosk needed to be high priority.  But an extra $2 million was added to original cost estimates to build the new kiosk.  Acting Superintendent Rodgers said that $1million was just to run electricity to new fee stations. She also added that the new construction will have solar panels.  However, JTNP is short on funding. Therefore, they are asking to borrow additional funds (and will borrow these funds against future revenue and JTNP will have to pay it back over the next 5 years. Acting Superintendent Rodgers is still waiting on confirmation on the loan.  However, she is hopeful.  She also reminded the group that: (1) they are not done with compliance for kiosk, (2) it took time to get the new design together; (3) they needed to move the new kiosk further into the park.  JTNP has the plan/designs but not blueprints.  Starting this week JTNP will start the formal planning process, and this involves communicating with the public.  Acting Superintendent Jane Rodgers stated that everybody will get an opportunity to comment.  She said that communication will go out to public for review and comments for 30 days.  Then they write a draft and then the draft will go out again for more comments for 30 days.  The final draft plan will be developed and combined with design drawings don, then go out to bid for construction in April/May 2022.  After they reward the contract it will take 8-10 months to build the new kiosk.  JTNP plans is to keep road (Quail Springs) open the entire time during construction.  Acting Superintendent Rodgers addressed the issue of additional national funding.  She indicated that they monies are not relevant to this project (and are not available any way into 2024.  Therefore, the new kiosk will be built with internal JTNP fee monies.

Superintendent David Smith added that this project has had environmental studies to figure out where the kiosk should go.  He stated that there will be two stations, four windows.  As a result they will be able to increase volume of visitors by 300% and believe the traffic would never back up onto Quail Springs after the new kiosk is built.

Question:  Brian Rennie asked if the sign at the West Entrance will be moved. Superintendent Smith stated that the toilet facilities will stay along with an expanded parking lot.  They plan to create a trail from the parking lot to the sign so that visitors won’t park in front of the sign.  He indicated that the sign is difficult to move because it has historic significance.  Mr. Rennie stated that he is worried about cars going too fast once kiosk is moved and someone will get hurt.  Superintendent Smith stated that for the time being the sign stays put and said that we should see how this situation resolves over time.  Superintendent Smith asked Acting Superintendent Rodgers to talk with JTNP traffic people to slow people down.  She stated that these comments are critical and important. However, comments are more valuable to JTNP if a proposed solution is given, as well.

Bill Gilman thanked David, Jane and Mark Lundquist for this meeting.


Acting Superintendent Rodgers reminded the group that we should be studying people and how they use the park.  Identify the problem. Determine how to solve it.  She indicated that they need to put everything on the table, including more rangers on the park, more face time with visitors in the park.  JTNP is unique from other national parks in that JTNP visitor centers are not located inside the park.  JTNP needs to determine more about these 3 million JTNP visitors, understanding that capacity is the issue, that the shuttle didn’t work, time entry won’t work.  The group was told that 1/2 o the visitors to JTNP come through West Entrance gate.  Acting Superintendent Rodgers’ priority is adding more parking lots to spread people out.  She said that they need to figure out how to disperse people once they go through the kiosk.  Superintendent Smith stated that they need to understand the carrying capacity for the park.  Should JTNP go to a reservation only system? Parking on the side of the road is discouraged.  There are 2,400 parking spots in JTNP.

Linda Doyle asked about construction, traffic flow plans, worst case scenario, and whether these issues could get sorted out ahead of construction.  How to prevent backup traffic from driving through Monument Manor neighborhood looking for a quicker way into the park.  Acting Superintendent Rodgers said to please put these comments in the comment section going out to the community.

Question:  Danny Brenner asked about people who have their high beams on when leaving the park that results in car headlights shining into homes in Monument Manor.  He asked if when the kiosk is moved if measures could be put into place to resolve the car headlines and therefore helping to maintain our night skies.  Superintendent Smith said that this comment needs to be written into comment section going to the community.  He also stated that he will have engineers will look into this.

Question:  Mark Wheeler asked why it appears that some days JTNP clears the traffic lines more quickly than other days.  He wondering whether JTNP staff at the entrance are making their own decisions as opposed to following protocols.  Superintendent Smith acknowledged that closing the entrance window and pass people through is a cost of doing business and that Monument Manor owners are unfortunately paying the cost of the way JTNP does business.  Mr. Wheeler asked if JTNP has done traffic counts?Superintendent Smith indicated that JTNP interview people as they are waiting to enter the park.  He stated that if people say they have been waiting 15 minutes, then JTNP starts waving them through.


Question:  Bill Gilman stated that a neighbor in Monument Manor was upset because their handmade 35MPH sign near the park entrance was removed by the county.  Mark Lundquist commented that you cannot post a MPH sign that contradicts the county set speed limit of 55MPH.  He did indicate, though, that the new wildlife signs along Quail Springs appear to slow people down.  

Question:  The issue of the sign at entrance was brought up again.  Superintendent Smith said that JTNP would consider covering the sign temporarily to see if it helps.  But JTNP would have to look at data to see what has changed.


Question:  Will Harner asked about putting sign about speed bump ahead near the West Entrance gate to slow people down.  Superintendent Smith said that he would be in favor of a speed bump.

Question:  The concern was raised about people camping illegally on private property near the West Entrance gate. Mark Lundquist said if this happens outside the park on private property, county code enforcement will send people out for complaints.  Mr. Lundquist said to call code enforcement to direct officers to the area.  


Question:  David Cox stated that at another park in the county the park officials have installed round-abouts to keep people from having a straight shot when leaving the park at night to reduce headlight glare onto surrounding homes. 


Question:  Bill Gilman asked Acting Superintendent Rodgers to show a google map where the new entrance will be located.  A discussion took place about how they might align the new entrance facilities so that cars leaving at night do not shine headlights into surrounding homes in Monument Manor.

San Bernardino Field Representative Mark Lundquist let everyone know that installing approved signage is possible, as the county has their own sign shop.  


Question:  Bill Gilman brought up trash issues in Monument Manor and how it relates to ravens.  Superintendent Smith indicated that overflowing trash is related to increased ravens predation issues.  Acting Superintendent Rodgers stated that she has educational materials that could be shared with the community regarding trash, ravens, tortoises.  Mr. Lundquist was asked if the county could help in distributing these educational materials. He said that he would look into it.


Bill Gilman thanked Superintendent Smith, Acting Superintendent Rodgers and Field Representative Mark Lundquist and thanked all the Monument Manor neighbors who participated in the zoom meeting today.  


meeting ended:  6:25pm.

Comments submitted offline after the meeting:  
Caroline Conway's stated that her "worry is that if they increase the size of the parking lot at the existing entrance and leave the bathrooms functional, those facilities will attract people who will soon discover they can enter the park there and have a perfect parking spot that is not monitored.  I understand the desire to keep an extra restroom, but if they call attention to it then we will have even more people hanging out there after hours than we do now.  The sign is also a draw and reason for people to hang out there.  We hear them at night as they stop on their way out of the park and it gets pretty loud some nights."

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