Close to home: MDLT brings vision for desert conservation to the Victor Valley

Victorville Daily Press

The Joshua Tree-based nonpofit recently acquired almost 600 acres near Apple Valley with plans to preserve it for the environment and the public.

A splintered plywood sign read “KEEP OUT,” but Peter Satin disregarded the faded directive.

Dressed for the threat of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures on a recent day in May, Satin unlocked the gate next to the sign and pulled it open. Back inside his SUV, he drove through the opening onto a remote section of Rock Springs Ranch.

He wasn’t trespassing, though. The Mojave Desert Land Trust, where Satin works as director of land management, recently purchased the nearly 600-acre property that borders the Juniper Flats National Conservation Lands area.

Sandwiched between Apple Valley’s desert floor and the forested San Bernardino Mountains, Rock Springs Ranch boasts pristine desert, panoramic views, riparian areas, oddly formed boulders, three natural springs and caves where ancient artifacts have been found.

MDLT officials say the purchase strengthens the status of the protected Juniper Flats.

Since 2006, MDLT has conserved nearly 80,000 acres that, in most cases, are later donated to the National Parks Service. The nonprofit’s work has added land to the national parks in Joshua Tree and Death Valley, and to the Mojave National Preserve, among other areas.

But combined with 1,647-acre Palisades Ranch on the Mojave River in Helendale, which Western Rivers Conservancy transferred to MDLT last year, Rock Springs Ranch represents the beginning of the Joshua Tree-based organization’s work in areas closer to the Victor Valley.

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