For Immediate Release:

October 13, 2015


Patrick Donnelly, Executive Director. 760.852.4339 or




(Shoshone, CA) – Ten residents of Southern Inyo County are making the 250 mile one-way journey to Whitewater Preserve near Palm Springs, California, to participate in a listening session with Senator Dianne Feinstein, Obama administration officials, and other desert lovers regarding the potential designation of California desert national monuments. These advocates for desert conservation feel strongly that permanent protections for parts of the Mojave Desert offer benefits to the entire desert community.

To accentuate their support, eleven Shoshone-Tecopa business owners joined together this week in a letter endorsing permanent protection for Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains, and Sand to Snow national monuments. Their businesses are entirely reliant on a steady flow of tourists through the Amargosa Basin, both en route to Death Valley and visiting our own region for its natural wonders. Their letter emphasizes that designating these national monuments would enhance eco-tourism throughout the Mojave Desert, creating one of the largest protected corridors in the United States, boosting visitation and business to our area.

“In the past fifty years, our region’s economy has completely transformed from one based on mining to one based on eco-tourism,” said local business owner, community leader, and fourth-generation resident Susan Sorrells. “We have some of the most spectacular scenery in the nation, and it is why we receive 1.3 million visitors per year passing through our area. This is one Mojave Desert, and by protecting resources in Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains, and Sand to Snow, and assuring the future of desert recreation and exploration, our economy will continue to flourish and grow as tourists come to experience the wild northern Mojave Desert.”

Mojave Trails National Monument is especially close to the hearts of Southern Inyo residents. It offers permanent protection to a vast swath of the Mojave Desert, encompassing many of the lands between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve. Recent science has determined that many species, in particular bighorn sheep, act as a meta-population across the entirety of the California desert. Therefore, protection of Mojave Trails will enhance bighorn populations, even as far away as Southern Inyo, on the other side of Mojave National Preserve.

Ultimately, the fate of the people and economy of Southern Inyo is tied to the fate of desert public lands. “The value of vast undeveloped space, the sounds of silence, and an unpolluted night sky are all why visitors are drawn to the area and our businesses,” said Amy Noel, Owner and General Manager of Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. “I hope that the President will take action to move this monument proposal forward, which would assist with the economic development of our area.”

Like many emigrants before them, Southern Inyo residents will make the long journey to Whitewater Preserve to speak on behalf of desert conservation along a stretch of historic Route 66 through Mojave Trails proposed national monument. “The local community has worked for nearly a decade to preserve these iconic landscapes,” said Death Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzi Dennett. “It is time for this region to be recognized for the priceless treasure it is and to receive the protection it deserves. We support the designation of Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains, and Sand to Snow national monuments.”


Support letter:


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