Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. Declared a U.S. National Park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act, it had previously been a U.S. National Monument since 1936. It is named for the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) forests native to the park. It covers a land area of 789,745 acres. A large part of the park is designated to wilderness area—some 429,690 acres. Straddling the San Bernardino County/Riverside County border, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park
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