It looks like a barren no man’s land, but the vast desert outside Indio, Calif., has many suitors. Conservationists see its acres of creosote bush and cholla cactus as a rare habitat for tortoises, pronghorn antelope and an elusive variety of mule deer. Energy companies view its sunbaked plains and windswept ridgelines as prime perches for solar panels and wind turbines. Dirt tracks that wiggle across its sandy washes are testament to its popularity among off-road motorsports enthusiasts.
About 100 volunteers from out of town gathered around shovels and gloves to begin a day of trash pickup in the surrounding desert of the Joshua Tree National Park. The site they decided to clean sits along Long Canyon, and Jacqueline Guevara, Director of Public Engagement with the Mojave Desert Land Trust, said you can find just about anything buried in the desert.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is a joint venture between California and the federal government to support renewable energy development while simultaneously protecting millions of acres of our state’s ecologically fragile desert.
The Trump Administration announced yesterday that it will consider scrapping a conservation plan developed during the Obama Administration to protect millions of acres of desert in California. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, finalized in 2016, was an eight-year effort to protect 10.8 million acres of sensitive desert ecosystems—including Joshua trees, desert tortoises, and bighorn sheep—by limiting where solar and wind energy projects could be developed. Reconsidering the desert conservation plan could open millions of acres of land to solar and wind development, and possibly to mining, grazing, and off-road vehicles as well.
The Federal Bureau of Land Management said Thursday it will consider amending a desert land use conservation plan, which could reopen millions of acres “to seek greater opportunities for renewable energy generation.” BLM said it will open a 45-day public comment period on 10.8 million acres of BLM managed land for possible changes to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The majority of that land is in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
The Trump administration is considering altering a plan that protects millions of acres of the California desert in order to boost energy development, mining and recreation. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan was finalized less than 18 months ago, but the Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday that it would revisit it with an eye towards opening even more areas to renewable energy development, off-road vehicles, mining and grazing.
The Mojave Desert Land Trust has added to the more than 22,000 acres it has purchased within the Mojave National Preserve by acquiring another parcel of private property from a landowner within the preserve. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more information about the purchase.
Route 66 is probably the most famous road in the world. It’s a magnet for tourists from around the globe, all wanting to capture that feeling of being “eternal at the wheel,” as Jack Kerouac described in his classic, “On the Road.”
Through direct-action land stewardship, land acquisition, easement management and investing in their own private native plant nursery for desert habitat restoration, MDLT is leading the way for other California Land Trust organizations with a dynamic agenda to protect and defend the Mojave Desert.
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) has acquired a property bordering Joshua Tree National Park that could provide access to hiking and climbing opportunities inside the park. The “Desert Knoll” property is in an ideal location for future public access opportunities given its location between the city of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree National Park’s North Entrance.