More than 120 people gathered at a rally in front of the west gate of the Joshua Tree National Park yesterday afternoon, protesting the government shutdown that has also shutdown their livelihoods. The peaceful protest, called “Shutdown the Shutdown,” demanded an end to the fiscal impasse in Congress, so that businesses that cater to tourists in the High Desert can get back to business, and residents can get back to work. Some Joshua Tree businesses, such as lodging, restaurants, rock climbing guides, and retail stores, have reported losses of 50 to 100 percent since Joshua Tree National Park shut down October 1. Other Morongo Basin residents remained on furlough, while they watched their co-workers get called back to work last week. Last night Congress reached an agreement to end the government shutdown. But while the terms of the agreement reached in the eleventh hour say federal employees will receive back pay, that doesn’t help local business owners who have lost business they’ll never recover. The protesters then symbolically crossed into the Park.