One of the comforting things about our National Parks system is the fact the parks rarely change. While our everyday lives are full of alterations -- be it stores opening and closing, jobs lost and gained, buildings bulldozed or constructed -- the parks are an area on the map where stasis is the norm, where you can return to the same tree decades later and plan on it still being there. Which is why any new trail announcement's a relatively big deal, no matter how short of a distance it goes.
This year, Joshua Tree National Park has started the process of opening up a new trail. If established, it will consist of a modest .7-mile loop that begins and ends at the parking area of Skull Rock, located towards the middle of the park. The trail would essentially be an extension of the current one, but with a separate loop back to the lot. It will also feature a few more scenic vantage points for hikers to admire.
Perhaps most fun of all, the small loop was designed and developed by a summer school class of Morongo Basin GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) students a few years ago. For more information about this new trail -- as well as the history of Joshua Tree and how the new trail will affect the park's vegetation -- head on over to the official release. The public will have 30 days to comment on the proposal.