Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors

1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Desert Update from the California Wilderness Coalition for September 2008

Senate Advances CA Desert & Mountain Heritage Act

On September 11, 2008, with nearly 100 wilderness activists and volunteers present, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out 53 public lands bills, including the CA Desert and Mountain Heritage Act. The bill is now ready to be considered by the full Senate. If passed, the bill would protect 191,000 acres of wilderness including areas in Joshua Tree National Park and Beauty Mountain. It would also protect four rivers as “wild and scenic” including Fuller Mill Creek.

With a dwindling legislative calendar, our folks in DC and in the field are working hard to make this bill a priority for our legislators. CWC applauds the hard working volunteers as well as the bill’s champions—Representative Bono Mack and Senators Boxer and Feinstein. For more information please visit:

There’s more wilderness out there…

Over the years CWC has continually helped monitor existing wilderness areas and inventoried potential new wilderness areas. Here in the desert, we are at a critical and exciting juncture. With the help of dedicated volunteers, local community leaders and our coalition partners, we have readied a proposal for several new wilderness areas in the desert and we’d like YOUR help! Join us on an outing to one of these spectacular and often little known wild places. Then add your voice to the growing movement to designate these places as wilderness. Together we can ensure that wild California is protected for generations to come.

Upcoming Hikes & Camping Trips

Saturday October 4th Cady Mountains Wilderness Day Hike Meet in Barstow 8:30 AM Contact: Laurel Williams 909-260-8833 for details

Enjoy a day of exploration in a landscape of rugged yellow and dark brown, horizontally striped canyons in one of the few areas where the Mojave River flows above ground. We will hike through lands that were utilized by Native Americans as a water source and Jedidiah Smith and Kit Carson traveled through in the early 1800’s. Keep your eye out for the elusive desert bighorn sheep as well as other wildlife like prairie falcons, golden eagles, coyotes, bobcats, jackrabbits, antelope ground squirrels, Mojave fringe-toed lizard and the desert tortoise. Bring 2 liters of water per person, sturdy walking shoes or boots, hat, sunscreen, snacks and a picnic lunch. If you are planning on joining us, please leave a message in advance at or 909-260-8833.

Sunday October 5th Big Morongo Preserve Photography Hike Meet at 7:00AM in the parking lot of the Preserve. From LA, take the I-10 East to State Highway 62 North. In Morongo Valley, turn right onto East Drive. After 1 block, turn left at Preserve sign. There is a parking lot at the end of the lane. Contact: Laurel Williams 909-260-8833 Join CWC and naturalist and wildlife photographer David Lamfrom from the National Parks Conservation Association for a leisurely hike through biologically rich riparian forest and mesquite forest, and a foray into desert hills for a potential opportunity to view desert bighorn. Bring you camera! Our early morning start will give us ample opportunity to snap photos of the over 240 species of birds that utilize Big Morongo as a refuge. Bring 2 liters of water per person, sturdy walking shoes or boots, hat, sunscreen, snacks and a picnic lunch. If you are planning on joining us, please leave a message in advance at or 909-260-8833.

Saturday & Sunday October 11-12th Surprise Canyon car camp and hike Meet in Victorville 8:00 AM Contact: Laurel Williams 909-260-8833 for details Surprise Canyon is a true rarity in the California desert with its abundant year round flow of water and lush riparian habitat. We will car camp below the canyon and hike up through the thick vegetation, looking for signs of the bighorn herd that uses the canyon. Some rock scrambling and stream splashing involved. Camp potluck dinner on Saturday night. Must bring willingness to get your feet wet and an extra pair of shoes and socks. If you are planning on joining us, please leave a message in advance at or 909-260-8833.

October 31 (eve) – November 2, Friday (eve) – Sunday
CONGLOMERATE MESA EXPLORATION/CARCAMP Contact: Laurel Williams 909-260-8833 Come with us and explore this pristine area overlooking Owens Valley and ranges to the east. Meet Friday evening near Darwin and car-caravan to our camping location at 6500’. Moderately strenuous hike on Saturday to little-known unroaded, unmined, ungrazed area south of Cerro Gordo, threatened by the potential of an open pit cyanide heap leach gold mine. Mostly trail-less cross-country, except for part of an 1870’s freighting trail between Keeler and Death Valley. Some rock scrambling. Saturday evening social and pot luck. Sunday explore the Malpais Mesa Wilderness from the 1950s Santa Rosa mine. Drive to campsite requires high clearance vehicle, carpooling at meeting point may be possible. Resource guide: Tom Budlong. Contact Laurel Williams 909-260-8833 for more information.

Ways to Get Involved

Volunteer to lead a hike, host a wilderness party, or write a letter to your elected officials! There are many ways to make a difference in this exciting new campaign. To find out more and to get involved in protecting desert wilderness, please contact Laurel Williams at or 909-260-8833.

Spotlight on Malpais Mesa Proposed Wilderness Additions

Conglomerate Mesa is the area’s central feature. At 7,700 feet, this mesa is an astonishing plateau amidst a rugged landscape that accentuates the 3,800 foot drop from the mesa to the valley floor. The mesa’s western slope features rolling badlands and from the top the view is simply breathtaking. Absolutely pristine, it is roadless and has never been settled, mined, grazed, or used by ORVs. The area contains the remains of primitive shelters and old foot and mule trails from California’s mining past. A hike to the top of the mesa is rugged and the landscape dry. There is a delightful surprise for the hiker who finds the hidden summit registry at the top. as well as dramatic 360 degree views of the Owens Valley and Sierra Nevada to the west and Death Valley and Telescope Peak to the east. Mule Deer, Boghorn Sheep, Golden Eagles, and threatened Mojave Ground Squirrel are some of the areas inhabitants. A rich Joshua Trees forest dominates the midlevel elevations while creosote, low desert shrubs, and grasses are found in lower elevations. PiƱon pines and Juniper trees are found toward the top. This beautiful place is at threat from the Idaho-based Timberline Resources Corporation. The company has applied to bulldoze roads and conduct exploratory drilling on this stunning and picturesque landscape.
Their exploration could lead to open-pit cyanide heap-leach gold mining.
CWC is working to protect this incredible place as wilderness.


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