A HUGE WIN for the anti-bobcat trapping campaign that was born in Joshua Tree three years ago.

Here’s the victory announcement from the wonderful, persistent and courageous folks of PROJECT BOBCAT:

Thanks to your three years of help, on August 5, 2015 the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 in favor of adopting a statewide ban on the pelt trapping of bobcats. But a few procedural steps remained before the ban could officially take effect, and paperwork delays very nearly resulted in yet another year of trapping. Ban supporters were doing some white knuckling as the 2015/16 bobcat trapping season, originally scheduled to open on November 24, 2015 was fast approaching. Happily, the final hurdle was overcome last Friday when the Office of Administrative Law approved the ban with enough time for the prohibitions to go into effect on November 20, 2015.


For the good word from the California Fish and Game Commission:

To read a summary of the last three years:

Project Bobcat is a non-funded volunteer organization, originally created to achieve a ban on the pelt trapping of bobcats in California. Because that goal has now been accomplished, please expect a short period of radio silence. However, we consider the welfare of our state’s bobcats to be an ongoing concern and Project Bobcat will resume posting as new issues emerge.

–Project Bobcat team

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We’re headed into 2016, over four years since this battle begun, and we’re still winning. Here’s the latest from local radio station 107.7:

November 17th, 2015

The effort to stop the construction of a Dollar General retail store at Sunburst and the highway in Joshua Tree still goes on with legal challenges slowly moving their way through the court system. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has the latest in the legal maneuvering…

In the on again/ off again battle over the proposed Dollar General in Joshua Tree, the battle lines are often anything but clear. Last week, Dollar General developers asked that a review of the Environmental Impact Report be pulled from the County Board of Supervisor’s December 15 agenda. It appears the cart was getting ahead of the horse. The project was blocked earlier this year when the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance successfully challenged the development—or at least halted it—pending an evaluation based on California Environmental Quality Act requirements. That ruling is also under appeal with a decision unlikely before this spring. Dollar General developers may have thought better of devoting too many resources to the project in advance of the appeals court decision. So how long until this battle is settled? That’s anybody’s guess.

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Tues Sept. 29, 6-8pm: California Desert National Monuments Support Party & Movie Screening

From our friends at the Mojave Desert Land Trust

Stop by the Mojave Desert Land Trust to learn about this important conservation work, watch a short film about the areas, and write a letter to help protect our beautiful and fragile California desert!

When: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 from 6-8pm

Where: Mojave Desert Land Trust Gateway Headquarters at 60124 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA

Dear Friends,

For over seven years, a diverse group of stakeholders has worked to create the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act. Now, we have a chance to achieve the centerpiece of that legislation by urging President Obama to create three new National Monuments representing some of the most biologically and historically important lands in the California Desert.

Join MDLT and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) for letter writing to targeted elected officials and updates about the effort to create the Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains, and Castle Mountains. As part of the event, we will screen two new short films about these areas created by The Wildlands Conservancy.

Light snacks and beverages provided.

RSVP Required to Lesley Hughes, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator,, 760-366-5440

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Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 7.34.38 AM

We’ve finally got the new “Defend Joshua Tree” t-shirts in stock!

Artist Arik Roper​’s gorgeous Desert Iguana design is handscreened on sea foam-colored shirts manufactured by American Apparel. All sizes are available.

Obtain in person at Hoof & The Horn​, or order online at our store:

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Joshua Tree’s battle to keep Dollar General from opening a store here has been going on since 2011. Here’s the latest, as we understand it:

1. Dollar General has appealed the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance‘s win in CEQA court earlier this year. There will a series of briefs filed by each side over the next few months, with the final brief scheduled to be filed by the JTDBA on Nov. 4, 2015. A three-judge panel will then set a date for oral arguments. Sometime after the oral arguments are heard, the panel will issue a ruling.

2. Meanwhile, Dollar General and San Bernardino County have begun to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project. A Notice of Preparation was issued last month. JTDBA’s counsel and other concerned parties have responded to this NOP. The JTDBA says that even if the County and Dollar General complete this EIR, they cannot begin to build a Dollar General in Joshua Tree. This is because the JTDBA (or some other party) could challenge the EIR’s findings in court, and the current CEQA court case (see #1) must also be completed and resolved.

Bottom line is that thanks to the JTDBA’s efforts, there won’t be a Dollar General built in Joshua Tree in 2015, but Dollar General hasn’t given up.

For a more detailed discussion of this ongoing battle, join the “NO Dollar General in Joshua Tree” group on Facebook.

Posted in blight, Dollar General, Dynamic Development, Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment



Above: a wild desert tortoise walking in BLM land in North Joshua Tree. Photo by Stephanie Smith, April 29, 2015.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to radically increase the amount of land in Joshua Tree (and the rest of the Mojave Desert) available to Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use.

We do not need any more ORV routes in the desert.

ORV use in the desert harms everyone and everything in the wild desert habitat. “The desert ecosystem is fragile,” says the National Park Service. “Off-road driving and riding creates ruts, upsets delicate drainage patterns, compacts the soil, and leaves visual scars for years. Plants are crushed and uprooted. Wildlife shelters are destroyed, and food and water supplies are altered or obliterated.” The sound disrupts the peace. The motion sends dust into the air, increasing air pollution.

Much of this BLM land has legitimate conservation value. In our area of northern Joshua Tree, BLM land is home to threatened species like the desert tortoise, and provides habitat and foraging opportunity to a wide variety of desert animals, insects and birds. The wildlife needs this land.

In addition: many of the new proposed routes for ORV traffic are in the ‘checkerboard’ area of north Joshua Tree, where small BLM parcels are interspersed with residential lots. Many of the proposed routes are discontinuous, meaning that ORVers will take a route for a few hundred yards, then have to stop, because the next route is accessible only via County road — and ORV use on County roads is illegal. The proposed routes are also near existing residences — private property — which will inevitably encourage (if not cause) accidental ORV use on private property, which of course will cause more conflict between riders and homeowners. The sheriff and the BLM cannot adequately police ORV activity on County roads and open spaces up here now — you add additional routes, between homes, and we’re gonna have a helluva problem on our hands.

The BLM is now taking comments from the public on its proposals, and has laid out very specific criteria about what kinds of comments count as “substantive” for them. Don’t waste your time writing a general comment about ORVs. It won’t do any good. Write a substantive comment. For guidance on how to do this, go here: ORV Watch

Local biologist and Morongo Basin Conservation Association board member Pat Flanagan has researched this issue and written the best comment letter we have seen thus far for the Copper Mountain Mesa and Desert Heights areas of the Morongo Basin. Here it is: WEMO DEIS Comments_MB and Communities (2mb pdf)

If you agree with it, sign on to it. The email address and physical mailing address it should be sent to are in the PDF.

AND/OR: You can sign an excellent letter of comment on this issue, prepared by our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity, here: Stop BLM’s Plan to Double Off-road Traffic in West Mojave

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From 107.7 news:

May 21: The Joshua Basin Water District voted to delay issuing a will-serve letter for the 248-unit Alta Mira residential development while emergency water regulations are in effect.

This is great news. The Alta Mira developers have been angling for a “will serve” letter from the JBWD for some time now. They will have difficulty moving their harmful, inappropriate project forward until they have one…and they might not get one for a while because of the ongoing drought emergency that California is experiencing.

Posted in Alta Mira, blight, Joshua Basin Water District, water | Tagged , , | 1 Comment