Last week I mentioned that it was the start of National Parks Week here in the U.S., which is an annual celebration of all the fantastic wilderness areas that have been set aside for public use by the government. Places like Yosemite and Yellowstone and dozens more. During this week, which runs until next Sunday, April 25th, all of the parks in the U.S. system have waived their entry fee, allowing visitors to explore them for free. Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Joshua Tree to attend a special event which not only kicked off National Parks Week, but also marked the beginning of Nature Valley's 2011 Preserve The Parks campaign.
The event was actually held just outside Joshua Tree National Park on a parcel of land that epitomizes the area. It is dry and hot, like many deserts around the planet, but it is also amazingly beautiful and alive with plants and animal life. This particular piece of land, located near the town of Joshua Tree, is 950 acres of desert wilderness that also happens to be home to a protected species of desert tortoises. It was purchased by the Mojave Desert Land Trust in an effort to protect the ecosystem there. The Trust is now working with the government to try to get this land incorporated into the national park itself.
On Saturday, I joined a group of volunteers, Nature Valley representatives, and members of the National Parks Conservation Association to work on a restoration project in the region. Amongst the group was actor Josh Holloway of Lost fame, who is serving as the spokesperson for the Preserve the Parks campaign this year. Holloway is a dedicated proponent of the national parks and an avid outdoorsman. While elements of the event were photo-ops to for use in promoting the program, Josh was also eager to join us in rebuilding trails and reshaping the land to help protect the environment there more efficiently. It was a great effort, and with the number of people on hand, we quickly had the area looking good.
This was my first trip to Joshua Tree, and I was quite taken by how beautiful it was. There are spectacular views in all directions and the plant and animal life were in abundance. In addition to spotting a couple of the desert tortoises, whose land we were there to protect, I also spotted a snake, a desert hare, and several hummingbirds. I'm told that the area has its fair share of sheep, mule deer, bobcats, and mountain lions as well, although none of them showed their faces while we were in the area.
The one thing that I came away with from this trip was that my stay was by far too short. I need to plan on going back to explore Joshua Tree more fully and take in the wilderness there. This is some of the most pristine, untouched desert on the planet, and definitely worth the trip if you're headed to California.
I was also very impressed with the commitment and dedication of everyone involved, starting with the folks at Nature Valley and the NPCA. The Mojave Desert Land Trust is also razor focused on achieving its goals, and even the local volunteers were taking ownership of the land that is right in their backyard. It was a fantastic crew, top to bottom, and I felt lucky to have been a part of it.
Nature Valley will be bringing similar events to other parks across the country this summer. At the moment, the plan is to hold six more projects in a various parks such as Yellowstone and Acadia, amongst others. If you're interested in taking part in one of those, be sure to check out the Preserve the Parks website for more information on when those events will be happening.
These articles might interest you :
I took a photo of my tree skirt pattern for different sizes of trees. Christmas fabric is dirt cheap right now so you may want to make a pattern that will fit... Read moreBy Blemon
ARTS & CRAFTS, FASHION
We were invited to a top secret pig roast party at Mulvaney's this weekend, by Patrick Mulvaney himself. We were riding by the restaurant and saw some guys... Read moreBy Forevermelody
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This paradox is the perfect philosophical cliché, often asked but rarely... Read moreBy Realizingresonance
with my assistant. It was her first time and I think she loves it as much as I do. They had the sweetest tree trimming decorations. This was my favorite. Read moreBy Happylivingdesign
A new book that I illustrated 9 black and white interior illustrations and a color cover is out and available for sale on Amazon.com! It’s a great fantasy read... Read moreBy Jay Montgomery
ART & DESIGN, CULTURE, SELF EXPRESSION
Not my first visit to McD's, no I've been there quite a few times (unfortunately). Growing up and into my teens, you bet I got my fix through those greasy golde... Read moreBy Dreenaburton
FOOD & DRINK, ORGANIC, VEGETARIAN & VEGAN
Styal Lodge wedding venue visit in Cheshire - a fabulous venue with a unique perspective... and look at that sky!One of this week’s highlights has to be my... Read moreBy Claire
MOST POPULAR FROM OUTDOORS
- Best Duck and Waterfowl Hunting Waders 2017 – Reviews and Guide by Chris Noal
- A Dispatch From I-15N by Thervproject
- Goodbye USA: extracting to the Bahamas by Behan Gifford
- Nepal Will Use GPS Tracking to Verify Summit Claims by Kungfujedi