In the California desert, there are many reasons to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial and all of our public lands. Especially, given that earlier this year, and after urging from Senator Dianne Feinstein, President Obama designated the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments here. These public lands are now permanently protected for generations to explore and enjoy.
To mark the Centennial and the creation of Mojave Trails National Monument, Amargosa Conservancy and Por la Creación Faith-based Alliance organized a camping trip to encourage local families and residents to explore one of these special places.
Here is how Estrella Ruiz, from Victorville, CA described her experience:
“I was one of what I imagine thousands of people who drive along Interstate 15 nearly every day never thinking about what is out there beyond the road. I have found in Afton Canyon, a beautiful place that I would like to visit again and again.
My husband, Edgar, and I brought our 9-month old, Jessica. While at first I was nervous when I heard we were going to be hiking with her, I soon saw that she enjoyed it as much as we did.
We had such an amazing experience enjoying the nature that's around us. A bird expert identified different birds for us. We also learned the types of plants and soils, and how they all respond to changes in weather in the desert.
These lands have so much value to them and we have been taking them for granted. Being able to go out into these beautiful places has been life changing and a great experience. I am looking forward to seeing and learning about more places. Our desert has so much to offer everyone, yet we take them for granted. I would love to thank Hispanic Access Foundation and Por la Creación, as well as the Amargosa Conservancy for such a wonderful weekend.”
To view a calendar and description of upcoming events taking place throughout the desert visit http://3monuments.org/centennial. These celebrations are being organized by the Campaign for the California Desert, a coalition of community leaders, business organizations and conservation groups dedicated to protecting our desert landscapes and celebrating them for their contributions to America’s natural and cultural heritage and regional economy.
This post originally ran on the Hispanic Access Foundation website, and can be found at: https://hispanicaccess.org/news/centennial-celebration-afton-canyon/oct-2016.
Hispanic Access Foundation is a Latino Conservation Alliance member.