California Desert Protection Act (1994-2014)


Twenty years ago this fall, the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) enlarged and re-designated Joshua Tree and Death Valley national monuments as national parks, established the Mojave National Preserve, and designated 69 new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wilderness areas. The CDPA 20th anniversary in Fall 2014 presents an opportunity to celebrate and support the preservation, enhancement, and sustainability of the California Deserts Region for current and future generations.

CDPA 20th Anniversary Mural, 29 Palms, CA



Saturday, Sept. 6 – Yucca Valley & Joshua Tree National Park
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Desert Stewardship Project’s “Half-Day of Hiking, Prayer, and Spiritual Nature Appreciation.” Easy hike on Hi-View Nature Trail, interpretive park presentations, music, and spiritual reflections. Open to all Morongo Basin spiritual communities. Location: Black Rock Canyon and Nature Center, Joshua Tree National Park, Black Rock Canyon Road, Yucca Valley, CA. Admission free. Hosted by Desert Stewardship Project. (909)936-6210.

Saturday, Oct. 4 – Coachella Valley
“Nuestro Desierto, Nuestra Comunidad” – A day-long event to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act and Hispanic Heritage Month, and to celebrate the Hispanic community’s role as stewards of the California desert. Special guest, Congressman Raul Ruiz. 10 to 11 a.m., Stewardship of the Desert prayer service at Seventh Day Adventist Church in Indio; program by pastors from Por La Creacion, Faith-based Alliance; 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., lunch served. 12 to 12:30 p.m., caravan to The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens in Palm Desert; 1 p.m., guest speakers, presentations; 2:00 to 4:30 p.m., guided tours of The Living Desert and family-friendly activities. Free admission limited to 100 event attendees, must RSVP. The Living Desert will also be open to the public for general admission ( Location: Indio and Palm Desert, Coachella Valley, CA. Hosted by Hispanic Access Foundation. (202)640-4344.

Oct. 26-Nov. 2 – Death Valley
“Wilderness Week” at Death Valley National Park kicks off with a Moonlight Walk, which will highlight Death Valley’s pristine night sky and recognition as the largest International Dark Sky Park in the world. During the week, park rangers will lead hikes into the wilderness that was established by the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA), which encompasses 91% of park lands. Interpretive programs will include a message about the CDPA and the Wilderness Act and their significance to the character and management of the park. An exhibit entitled “Faces of Wilderness” will recognize the people who helped pass this significant legislation. Location: In and around Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Death Valley. Hosted by Death Valley National Park staff. (760)786-3207.

Friday, Oct. 31 – Death Valley
An anniversary event on Friday evening will honor the many citizens who contributed their time and expertise over the years to the successful passage of the CDPA. Guest speaker will be Ed Rothfuss, who was Superintendent of Death Valley National Monument in the years leading up to and during the passage of the CDPA and Death Valley’s re-designation as a national park. Location: Furnace Creek Visitor Center auditorium, Death Valley. Hosted by Death Valley National Park staff. (760)786-3207.

Friday, Oct. 31 – Shoshone
An opening reception for the Death Valley National Park Wilderness Photo Exhibit by National Park Service staff will be followed by a keynote speaker, who will focus on the CDPA and the importance of the wilderness corridor of the Amargosa Basin and Range, which connects Death Valley National Park with the Mojave National Preserve. The event kicks off Old West Days in Shoshone. Location: Shoshone Museum, Shoshone, CA. Hosted by Shoshone Museum Association. (760)852-4524.

Saturday, Nov. 1 – Death Valley
Death Valley hikes, speakers, workshops, multiple activities and festivities commemorating the CDPA 20th anniversary. A special focus on youth participation will include National Park Service Wilderness Junior Ranger kits, park passes, and activities. Hosted by Death Valley National Park staff. (760)786-3207.

Saturday, Nov. 1 – Mojave National Preserve
"Mojave Fest 2014” in Mojave National Preserve begins at 10 a.m. with ranger-guided walks and talks, speakers, desert art photography exhibition, Native American performances and artisans, children’s activities, food, and book signings with notable desert authors. Location: Kelso Depot Visitor Center. An After-Event Star Party at Hole-in-the-Wall in the preserve features star gazing beginning at 7 p.m. (760)252-6108. 

Nov. 1-2 – Mojave National Preserve
Veterans' Campout – The Vet Voice Foundation will host a guided Veterans' Hike and Campout in the Mojave National Preserve.  Leaves from 29 Palms on Nov. 1 at 11 a.m., ends in 29 Palms on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. Tour will include Kelso Depot, campout at Hole-in-the-Wall campground, and participation in star-viewing astronomy party. Veterans will be encouraged to share their own "campfire stories" about why they support public lands and how the CDPA’s passage has supported that. Camping equipment and food will be provided. Open to veterans and the media, limited spaces available. To participate or for more details, contact Steve Dunwoody at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Nov. 7-12 – Tecopa
Night sky programming and “star parties” in Tecopa will be held in conjunction with a field trip hosted by Friends of the Pleistocene, a professional group of approximately 150 geologists who will be in the area observing the world class geology of the Amargosa Basin. Location: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, Tecopa, CA. Hosted by Shoshone Museum Association. (760)852-4524 or (760)852-4420.

Saturday, Nov. 8 – Joshua Tree
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Kickoff event at Joshua Tree Railroad Museum adjacent to Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Quail Mountain property, near the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. Interpretive talks on the CDPA and protection of desert habitat, storytellers, desert history narratives, vintage trains, and anniversary cake cutting in the historic dining car at the museum. Admission free. RSVP requested. Location: Joshua Tree Railroad Museum, off Park Blvd., near Joshua Tree National Park entrance. Hosted by Mojave Desert Land Trust. (760)366-5440.

Nov. 13-16 – Ridgecrest
The Ridgecrest Petroglyph and Heritage Festival will include ancient rock art exhibits and tours, hikes, speakers, music, educational workshops, and a step back into the history of Ridgecrest and Indian Wells Valley. Hosted by Ridgecrest Area CVB and City of Ridgecrest. Location: Maturango Museum, Petroglyph Park, Balsam Street, Kerr McGee Center, Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert. Event information: (760)375-8202.

Thursday, Nov. 13 – Victorville 
“The Remarkable California Desert, an American Icon” is the theme for an anniversary dinner and presentation by the Mojave Environmental Education Consortium (MEEC). The event includes dinner, opening remarks from the National Parks Conservation Association, and a keynote speaker on the profound wildlife and wild lands in the Mojave Desert and why the Mojave matters. Invitational, limited seating. Location: Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District office in Victorville, 14306 Park Ave., Victorville, CA. (760)245-1661 x6101. Hosted by MEEC. 

Thursday, Nov. 13  Morongo Valley
10 a.m. to 12 noon. – Eco-Discovery Walk in Big Morongo Canyon Preserve with botanist and wildlife biologist Robin Kobaly of The SummerTree Institute. Enjoy an interpretive stroll on the boardwalk through the marsh and riparian woodlands, ending at the Pavilion in beautiful Covington Park around noon, with lunch, music, and art by Morongo Valley Art Colony. Admission free. Limited seating. Wheelchair accessible boardwalk. Location: Begin and end at Covington Park, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, Morongo Valley, CA 92256; East Drive off Hwy 62 (29 Palms Hwy.). Hosted by The SummerTree Institute and Morongo Valley Community Services District. (760)363-6454.

Friday, Nov. 14 – Joshua Tree
1 to 3 p.m. – Guided hike on the Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Quail Mountain property in Joshua Tree. The hike is designed for the public with all levels of hiking abilities and includes interpretive signs, brochures, and dialogue about desert ecosystems and the importance of the CDPA. Snacks and beverages available at the trailhead. Admission free. Location: MDLT’s Quail Mountain property near Joshua Tree National Park west entrance, at the top of Park Blvd., Joshua Tree, CA 92252. Hosted by Mojave Desert Land Trust. (760)366-5440.

Friday, Nov. 14 – Joshua Tree
5 to 8 p.m. – Opening reception for CDPA 20th Anniversary Exhibit, featuring artwork from Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park Artist-in-Residence programs, and a “Crazy Cactus” exhibit from Mojave National Preserve courtesy of Main Street Murals Environmental Arts Youth Program and Desert Discovery Center. Live music, beverages, and refreshments. Admission free. Location: Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, 6554 Park Blvd., Joshua Tree, CA 92252. Hosted by Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, Joshua Tree National Park Interpretive Staff, and Joshua Tree National Park Association. (760)366-3723.

Friday, Nov. 14 – Cathedral City
5 p.m. - “The Incredible Journey” at the AM/FM Festival. Screening and discussion of the short film produced by youth of the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City’s “Leaders In Training” Program. “The Incredible Journey” follows the BGCCC kids through 2014 on their educational and outdoor exploration of public lands in and around the Coachella Valley. Join the journey and participate with the youth as they go hiking and wading in pools at Indian Canyons, climbing rocks at Joshua Tree National Park, and paying a visit with Bowser, the Desert Tortoise at the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa National Monument. Hear the youth reflect on the California Desert Protection Act, which was passed before they were born. Location: The AM/FM Festival at the Mary Pickford Theater, 36850 Pickfair Street, Cathedral City, CA 92234. Information: Scott Robinson (760)770-4965. See media release for more details.

Saturday, Nov. 15 – Twentynine Palms
3 to 4 p.m. – Mural dedication for the 20th Anniversary Mural for the CDPA and Joshua Tree National Park by California muralists Chuck Caplinger and Art Mortimer. Location: Old Schoolhouse Museum, 6760 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277, near Joshua Tree NP Headquarters. Hosted by Joshua Tree National Park Council for the Arts, Public Arts Advisory Committee of the City of Twentynine Palms, Action Council for 29 Palms Inc., and 29 Palms Historical Society. Information: (760)217-8839. Directions to Museum: (760)367-2366. and

Desert Sky Dinner & Dance Nov. 15, 2014

Saturday, Nov. 15 – Twentynine Palms
5 to 10 p.m. – Desert Sky Dinner & Dancing at Smith's Ranch with Southwestern fare, wine/beer and Margarita bar, country music and dancing. Meet VIPs and special guests like Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith and keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Pavlik, author of The California Deserts: An Ecological Rediscovery. Enjoy star gazing on the patio with Coyote Telescope. Social Hour 5 to 6 p.m., Dinner at 6 p.m. Location: Smith’s Ranch, 4584 Adobe Road, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277. Hosted by 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce and Joshua Tree National Park Council for the Arts. Tickets: $25/single, $40/couple, $150/Table of 8. Tickets available at the 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce (760)367-3445 - 73484 29 Palms Hwy., Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 - and online at:  
... see PDF flyer

Sunday, Nov. 16 – Yucca Valley
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Party with Coyote Cool at the Boys & Girls Club to celebrate the CDPA’s 20th birthday.  11 a.m. “Saving the Ancients” workshop with Robin Kobaly of The SummerTree Institute. 12 to 3 p.m. Student artwork and desert project displays, desert conservation information tables, coloring contest, face painting, door prizes, birthday cupcakes, beverages, and family fun! Music by Andy Gorrill's MUSD band students. Solar scope viewing with Tom O'Key of Southern California Desert Video Astronomers. Location: Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Desert, 56525 Little League Drive, Yucca Valley, CA 92284. Hosted by Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce, Soroptimist of Yucca Valley, and Education Consultant Diana Shay Diehl/Morongo Unified School District. (760)365-6323.

Dec. 5-7 – Twentynine Palms
Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition 2014  Friday, Dec. 5 (5 to 8 p.m.) opening reception at historic 29 Palms Art Gallery for a national juried art exhibition of artwork inspired by Joshua Tree National Park. Saturday (10 to 4) and Sunday (10 to 3) the art exposition features artist booths, art demonstrations, interpretive walks, desert wilderness/park history lectures, special exhibits, music, food and beverages. Location: 29 Palms Art Gallery, 29 Palms Inn, 29 Palms Creative Center & Gallery, Old Schoolhouse Museum, Joshua Tree NP HQ and Oasis Visitor Center; Oasis of Mara venues located off National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277. Hosted by Joshua Tree National Park Council for the Arts, City of Twentynine Palms, Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, 29 Palms Inn and other area sponsors. (760)217-8839.

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