October 19, 2009

15th Anniversary Celebration of the California Desert Protection Act

by Michael Gordon

Please join the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association to celebrate this historic anniversary at Mojave National Preserve’s Kelso Depot Visitor Center in Kelso, California. Entertainment, education, food, and an incredible line-up of speakers will add to your enjoyment of our celebration, located at the Historic Kelso Depot in the heart of Mojave National Preserve. Only a few miles from the 700-foot tall Kelso Sand Dunes.

Signed into law on October 31, 1994, the California Desert Protection Act designated 7.8 million acres of land as wilderness, changed areas previously designated as national monuments into Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, and established Mojave National Preserve. This bill was the single largest land protection bill in the history of the lower 48!

The California Desert Protection Act is important because it established Mojave National Preserve and expanded Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks," said Mojave Superintendent Dennis Schramm. "Before its passage in 1994, Death Valley and Joshua Tree were designated as National Monuments."

Activities during the event include guided hikes and tours, distinguished speakers, children's activities and more.

The Fort Mojave Tribal Band and Needles Select Choir will perform, and Cowboy Poet Rob Blair will recite poems inspired by his life in the Mojave.

Lunch can be purchased at The Beanery lunch counter inside the Kelso Depot. Kelso Depot was built in 1924 and served as a Union Pacific station until 1986. The building was renovated and re-opened in 2005 as Mojave National Preserve's visitor center. The spectacular mission-revival style building now houses a museum, information center, bookstore, lunch counter, and art gallery.

The bookstore operated by Western National Parks Association will be open, and many regional authors whose books are on sale will be available for book signings.

Western Artist Susan Altstatt has a solo show in the Desert Light Gallery of the Kelso Depot Visitor's Center beginning October 10th and running through January 3rd, 2010. Twenty-two pieces of Susan's work focused on the East Mojave will be displayed, and selected prints will be available. Susan has been painting off and on for the past 50 years. Her media is primarily acrylic on canvas.

  • Visitor Center open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Activities begin at 10 a.m.
  • Susan Altstatt, Western artist
    solo show in the lower gallery
  • Kelso is 34 miles south of I-15 at Baker on Kelbaker Road
  • Celebration event at 1 p.m.
  • Lunch concessions available
The Turtle Mountains by Susan Altstatt

This event is free and open to the public!

For more information call 760-252-6100 or visit us online at www.nps.gov/moja

You can download a flyer for this event here.