In 2017 the Friends of Juniper Flats continued to work through many challenges including restoration of closed routes, installing open route signs, and mapping proposed hiking trails. With support from our members, we were able to increase awareness of the area and its resources. Friends of Juniper Flats worked with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on a restoration grant, National Public Lands Day and the designation of hiking trails. We increased our public outreach which included additional information on our Friends of Juniper Flats website and adding 17 stories to this site. Some member articles were published in the Daily Press newspaper and most of our restoration activities were also published in the paper. A presentation to be delivered to various local groups is still in progress and we are working on a mascot. We are thankful to the many members and volunteers who have contributed their time and effort to the preservation, protection and restoration of this magnificent area. We are also grateful for the membership dues and donations that help pay for our basic expenses such as the Post Office box, the website, printing, postage and much more.
It is difficult to imagine going out to this beautiful area and not leaving it better than we find it.
Volunteers made a difference
Friends of Juniper Flats volunteers help keep the area clean of trash and graffiti, and during the restoration grant we had a small team of volunteers who
- helped BLM maintain open route signs,
- maintain the area around kiosks and trailheads,
- fixed fences,
- monitored closed routes and restoration sites and much more.
We welcome new volunteers to help with this ongoing work. Volunteers must have their own transportation capable of getting to the sites to be monitored and must sign a BLM volunteer agreement. Although most projects must be approved by the BLM, volunteers make their own schedule or join an organized work project. Volunteers also work at home on the computer developing and maintaining the websites, developing information brochures, interpretive sign posters, maps, presentations and attending meetings.
The Designation of Hiking Trails
We met with the BLM to discuss our Hiking Trail Proposal for the Juniper Sub Region to establish designated hiking trails with the upcoming West Mojave (WEMO) Route Designation.
We delivered almost 600 signatures on a petition and then we provided maps in Google Earth. BLM’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the route designation is due to be released for public comment in late January 2018. We hope you will find the time to write a comment in support of designated hiking trails in the Juniper Flats Area and greater Mojave Desert. We will add information on this site about writing comments. Stay tuned by entering your email address in the “follow” tab.
The Restoration Grant
Our volunteers helped with fence monitoring and repairs. At several locations, the fences are vandalized often and the repairs are ongoing:
Our volunteers helped with trash, graffiti and sticker removal:
Volunteers helped with Trailhead and Kiosk monitoring.
- This includes taking photos of the condition of the resource and fixing any problem (if possible) and reporting that condition and action taken to the BLM.
- It includes helping to keep the information boxes stocked (and removing any trash!).
- BLM has new kiosk posters and Juniper Flats brochures on order
Volunteers monitored closed routes which included replacing log barriers, or replacing vandalized signs (or removing them) and reporting the condition, use and actions taken:
Volunteers monitored sites (closed routes) restored by BLM crews (and sometimes our volunteers):
Volunteers monitored and replaced or re-installed route markers that were falling down:
Volunteers helped install new interpretive signs on September 30, 2017: National Public Lands Day Success
Volunteers also installed interpretive signs at Bonita Vista Hiking Trailhead. We are developing more posters so that the sign can be changed several times a year.
Volunteers learned about plants and documentation:
More importantly, however, our volunteers took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife in the area while their efforts helped protect it for future generations! Volunteers often develop a camaraderie that comes from working together towards a common goal.
The varied vegetation helps to make this area very special and worth every effort to protect and restore it.
Volunteers enjoyed the wildlife in the area including BIRDS. We saw cactus wren, ravens, turkey vultures, California quail, great horned owls, several hawks, horned lark, humming birds, scrub jay, white crowned sparrow, red breasted sap sucker and many more:
Volunteers observed some bugs and bees:
Volunteers came across some lizards including coast horned lizard, alligator lizard, leopard lizard, and many more:
And a few snakes:
And a few ground squirrels and rabbits:
Volunteers saw several groups of hikers enjoy the area. Some qualified hike leaders from different organizations regularly include hikes in the Juniper Flats Area.
We will continue outreach opportunities at the High Desert Farmers Market at least one Thursday a month in the first few months of 2018. The Farmers Market is held at Victor Valley College on the lower campus by the gym on Thursday mornings. Come and visit!