Mojave National Preserve
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Cima Road-Mojave National Preserve.JPG
Joshua trees along Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve
Map showing the location of Mojave National Preserve
Map showing the location of Mojave National Preserve
Map showing the location of Mojave National Preserve
Map showing the location of Mojave National Preserve
LocationSan Bernardino County, California, USA
Nearest cityBaker, California
Coordinates34°53′N 115°43′W / 34.883°N 115.717°W / 34.883; -115.717Coordinates: 34°53′N 115°43′W / 34.883°N 115.717°W / 34.883; -115.717
Area1,542,776 acres (6,243.39 km2)[1]
CreatedOctober 31, 1994 (1994-October-31)
Visitors866,635 (in 2021)[2]
Governing bodyNational Park Service
WebsiteMojave National Preserve
External video
Mojave Desert 2020 Dome Fire aftermath.jpg
video icon “Can a fire-ravaged forest of Joshua trees be restored?”, Tien Nguyen, Knowable Magazine, March 4, 2022.

Mojave National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, USA, between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The preserve was established October 31, 1994, with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress,[3] which also established Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park as National Parks. Previously, some lands contained within the Preserve were the East Mojave National Scenic Area, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.[4] At 1,542,776 acres (6,243 km2), within the contiguous United States it is the third largest unit of the National Park System and the first largest National Preserve. The preserve was created within the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service and remains within that jurisdiction today.

Natural features include the Kelso Dunes, the Marl Mountains and the Cima Dome, as well as volcanic formations such as Hole-in-the-Wall and the Cinder Cone Lava Beds. The preserve surrounds Providence Mountains State Recreation Area and Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve, which are both managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Impressive Joshua tree forests are found in parts of the preserve. The forest covering Cima Dome and the adjacent Shadow Valley is the largest and densest in the world.[5] In August 2020 a wildfire destroyed 1.3 million Joshua Trees around Cima Dome.[6] The ghost town of Kelso is found in the preserve, with the defunct railroad depot serving as the Visitor Center. The preserve is commonly traversed by 4 wheel drive vehicles traveling on the historic Mojave Road.

Climate in the preserve varies greatly. Summer temperatures average 90 °F (32 °C), with highs exceeding 105 °F (41 °C). Elevations in the preserve range from 7,929 feet (2,417 m) at Clark Mountain to 880 feet (270 m) near Baker. Annual precipitation varies from 3.37 inches (86 mm) near Baker, to almost 9 inches (230 mm) in the mountains. At least 25% of precipitation comes from summer thunderstorms. Snow is often found in the mountains during the winter.

The preserve currently faces challenges based on its lack of funding, as of 2018 the preserve had a deferred maintenance of $118,036,341.[7] This lack of funding has primarily lead to infrastructure disrepair which, in combination with the reckless driving prevalent among visitors, has caused a significant threat to the endangered Desert Tortoise population within the preserve. In addition to the tortoise's threatened population, the Prairie Falcon and the Bighorn Sheep are both at a risk within the preserve. A common solution provided to help save this population is to install wildlife crossings over the main roads within the preserve, though this is currently not possible with the funding provided.

Mojave Wilderness

The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (CDPA) designated a wilderness area within Mojave National Preserve of approximately 695,200 acres (281,300 ha). The National Park Service manages the wilderness in accordance with the Wilderness Act, the CDPA, and other laws that protect cultural and historic sites in the wilderness.[8]

Administrative History

Upon the preserve's establishment, Mary Martin was designated as its superintendent, she served from 1994 to 2005, when she was moved to the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Dennish Schramm then served from 2005 to 2010. Stephanie Dubois served from 2010 to 2014. Todd Suess served from 2014 to 2020, though he continues to work for the National Park Service as the Chief of Biological Resources. The current superintendent is Mike Gauthier who has served since 2020.

Features

Climate

Hole-in-the-Wall canyon
Hole-in-the-Wall canyon
The entrance sign alongside Kelbaker Road.
The entrance sign alongside Kelbaker Road.

The following climate data is for a higher elevation area in the preserve. See also Climate of the Mojave Desert.

Climate data for Mountain Pass, California. (Elevation 4,740 feet (1,440 m))
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71
(22)
76
(24)
81
(27)
90
(32)
104
(40)
109
(43)
110
(43)
109
(43)
102
(39)
96
(36)
89
(32)
70
(21)
110
(43)
Average high °F (°C) 50.4
(10.2)
53.7
(12.1)
59.0
(15.0)
66.4
(19.1)
76.3
(24.6)
87.0
(30.6)
92.8
(33.8)
89.9
(32.2)
83.9
(28.8)
72.4
(22.4)
58.9
(14.9)
51.1
(10.6)
70.2
(21.2)
Average low °F (°C) 29.5
(−1.4)
32.4
(0.2)
35.8
(2.1)
41.0
(5.0)
49.8
(9.9)
59.2
(15.1)
66.5
(19.2)
64.5
(18.1)
56.6
(13.7)
46.3
(7.9)
36.2
(2.3)
30.2
(−1.0)
45.7
(7.6)
Record low °F (°C) 3
(−16)
6
(−14)
12
(−11)
19
(−7)
28
(−2)
36
(2)
42
(6)
44
(7)
33
(1)
21
(−6)
10
(−12)
−2
(−19)
−2
(−19)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.92
(23)
0.89
(23)
0.89
(23)
0.48
(12)
0.27
(6.9)
0.20
(5.1)
1.04
(26)
1.23
(31)
0.59
(15)
0.54
(14)
0.68
(17)
0.63
(16)
8.36
(212)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.7
(6.9)
1.8
(4.6)
1.4
(3.6)
0.5
(1.3)
0.2
(0.51)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.25)
1.1
(2.8)
1.5
(3.8)
9.3
(24)
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Listing of acreage – December 31, 2011" (XLSX). Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-23. (National Park Service Acreage Reports)
  2. ^ https://irma.nps.gov/STATS/Reports/Park/MOJA
  3. ^ "California Desert Protection Act". Joshua Tree National Park. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  4. ^ "Mojave Wilderness". Wilderness.net. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  5. ^ "General Management Plan-Introduction" (PDF). National Park Service. p. 7. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  6. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/09/climate/redwood-sequoia-tree-fire.html They're among the World's Oldest Living Things. The Climate Crisis is Killing Them. New York Times.
  7. ^ "Identifying & Reporting Deferred Maintenance - Infrastructure (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  8. ^ "General Management Plan-Land Protection" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  9. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved March 29, 2013.