Joshua Tree National Park Kicks-off Restoration Projects

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from NPCA

Photo by Alex E. Proimos

Twentynine Palms, Calif. – In partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association, Arrowhead® Brand Mountain Spring Water has announced the first jointly supported, volunteer-based restoration project at the iconic Joshua Tree National Park to help revitalize and restore the park, leading up to its 75th Anniversary.

Breaking ground this weekend, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water employees will team-up with park officials and community volunteers to restore two highly travelled areas of the park – the Hidden Valley Trailhead and trails leading out to the popular rock climbing area, Houser Buttress.

Once a refuge for cattle rustlers and mountain lions, Hidden Valley is now one of the park’s most popular rock climbing, picnicking and hiking destinations, and it’s in critical need of conservation and restoration efforts.

Among the group of volunteers are Boys and Girls clubs from Yucca Valley and Desert Hot Springs and marines from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center located in Twentynine Palms, CA.

Volunteers will perform critical work to prevent soil erosion and destruction around the trailhead, which has created a slipping hazard to hikers. Volunteers will also eliminate “social trails” created when visitors walk off the designated trail-areas. Additionally, participants will plant native vegetation, lay vertical mulching to curtail erosion, remove wooden ties that line the trail and replace them with rocks to restore the area, and dig postholes for fencing to secure the site. Finally, old trail signage will be replaced with new ones that better describe trails for hikers and help preserve the desert’s natural landscape.

The Park

One hundred and forty miles east of Los Angeles, the 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park features a fragile desert ecosystem. Visitors can explore both “low” and “high” desert landscapes here where the Colorado and the Mojave deserts meet.

Photo by thirteenthbat

Joshua trees are found in the cooler, wetter Mojave in the western portion of the park. Explorer John Fremont reportedly called them “…the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom.”

A member of the Yucca genus, the fast-growing Joshua trees get their name from 19th century Mormons crossing the Mojave Desert who said the trees’ limbs resembled the outstretched arms raised to the heavens in prayer.

The trees, with their multi-fiber trunks and extensive root systems can survive in the desert for hundreds of years, with some trees living up to a thousand years. Joshua trees bloom in the spring, displaying creamy white flowers to complement the dark green spear-shaped leaves.

Malcolm

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2 responses

  1. I’ve always liked Joshua trees. We visited an area full of them just west of Phoenix many times and thought they were awesome trees.

    • This is one of those places I would like to visit, but never have. I’ve only been through the SW a couple of times, and it was usually en route somewhere else with no time to stop for a lot of site seeing.

      Glad you’ve had a chance to see them up close!

      Malcolm