Death Valley National Park
|A beavertail cactus in Death Valley National Park (Alan Van Valkenburg/courtesy, National Park Service)|
Here's a quick historical timeline for steps to protect Death Valley. You might also want to look over the new additions to the park created by the 1994 Desert Protection Act.
1933 - On February 11, Death Valley is proclaimed a 1,750,000-acre National Monument by President Hoover.
1937 - On March 6, President Franklin Roosevelt adds the Nevada triangle containing 300,000 acres.
1952 - On January 17, President Truman adds the 40 acres of Devil's Hole to the monument to protect a unique species of desert pupfish.
1976 - Congress passes the Mining in the Parks Act, which closes Death Valley to the filing of new mining claims and begins to phase out mining in the monument.
1984 - Death Valley National Monument is recognized as internationally significant by the United Nations as part of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Preserve.
1994 - On October 31, President Clinton signs the Desert Protection Act (DPA) enlarging Death Valley by 1.3 million acres and redesignating it a national park.
1994 - 95 percent of the new Death Valley National Park is officially protected as wilderness by the DPA.
Death Valley National Park became the largest national park outside Alaska with over 3.3 million acres when President Clinton signed the Desert Protection Act on October 31, 1994. A total of 1.3 million acres were added to the old national monument. Most of the additions were north and northwest of the old monument boundary and lie entirely within the state of California. Over 200 miles of paved and dirt roads allow access to these new park lands. Although there are no developed trails in the lands added to the park, unlimited opportunities exist for visitors to explore by hiking cross-country.
Death Valley Wash and the Last Chance Range (75,000 acres)
Location: North of Scotty's Castle
Access: By Big Pine Road north of Ubehebe Crater or Eureka Valley Road
Highlights: Northern segment of Death Valley, Last Chance and Little Sand springs, highest peak in the Last Chance Mountains
Eureka Valley (200,000 acres)
Location: Northwestern end of park just west of the Last Chance Mountains
Access: The Big Pine Road crosses Eureka Valley with a ten-mile side road to the dunes
Highlights: Highest dunes in California and two endangered plant species
Saline Valley and Range (400,000 acres)
Location: Northwestern section of the park, south of Eureka Valley and east of the Inyo Mountains
Access: Saline Valley Road between Hwy. 190 and the Big Pine Road traverses the west side of the valley
Highlights: Historic salt tramway, sand dunes, warm springs, and dramatic mountain views
Lee Flat and the Nelson Range (50,000 acres)
Location: Western side of the park, south of Saline Valley
Access: Saline Valley Road off Hwy. 190
Highlights: Joshua tree forest and Nelson Range
Northern Panamint Valley (100,000 acres)
Location: North and south of Hwy. 190, west of Death Valley
Access: Dirt roads off Hwy. 190
Highlights: Darwin falls, sand dunes, Rainbow Canyon, and Father Crowley Point
West Side of the High Panamints (100,000 acres)
Location: South of Hwy. 190, and east of Trona and Ballarat
Access: Several 4x4 roads into mountains off Ballarat Road
Highlights: Ghost town of Panamint City, Goler Wash, and bighorn sheep
Owls Head Mountains (125,000 acres)
Location: Extreme southwestern part of the park
Access: Old mining roads and relay tower road off Harry Wade Road
Highlights: Two dry lakebeds and old mining ruins
Ibex Hills and Saddle Peak Hills (50,000 acres)
Location: Extreme southeastern part of the park, west of Hwy. 127 and Shoshone
Access: Old mining roads off Hwy. 127 or Hwy. 178
Highlights: Colorful mountains and old mining ruins
Greenwater Valley and Range (150,000 acres)
Location: South of Hwy. 190 and the Dantes View Road and west of Hwy. 127
Access: By dirt road along length of valley or two 4x4 roads through the mountains
Highlights: Archaeological sites and old ghost town sites
Pyramid Peak (50,000 acres)
Location: North of Hwy. 190 along the east boundary of the park
Access: By foot from Hwy. 190 or by Hole-in-the-Wall 4x4 road
Highlights: Highest peak in the Funeral Mountains, fossils, and bighorn sheep
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication