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Joshua Tree the Protected Plant Species.

Season of tourism has returned here in the High Desert. Sadly many tourist acting like “this land is your land, this land is my land” means that they can have disregard to the delicate ecosystem of the Mojave Desert. Tourist acting like a bunch of entitled brats who come here not considering the true inhabitants which are the flora and fauna and why our actions can impact the ecosystem. LEAVE NO TRACE ethics are poor amongst many visitors. for most, they have never been outdoors and haven’t a clue on outdoor ethics having only a concrete jungle experience. Lack of knowledge can lead to the impact the land and its inhabitants.

In general it is wise to do research whenever going into any outdoor environment, becoming familiar with the land, the fauna, poisonous and venimmous critters, plants, trail information, camping information etc.

Many plan trips without visiting the National Park Service website in turn because of the lack of knowledge on part of folks, many of the problems we see in the National Park here in Joshua Tree are the ever-growing distasteful photos posing on Joshua Trees of folks hanging hammocks, climbing, standing, sitting, “twerking” yes TWERKING, and posting some lame “enlightened” caption for the graces of likes on social media. This is a problem that has been grabbing the attention of Joshua Tree locals and of the surrounding areas to where now the hashtags are monitored and offenders are being asked nicely to remove their photos. These images are problematic because it further encourages others by being an example. We hope that by educating folks that they will consider the impact of their actions.

The act of climbing hanging on, standing, sitting hanging hammocks on a Joshua Tree in the National Park will find you a fine of $250. Also hammocks are not allowed to be tied to a Juniper Trees.

Beth Orton a musician who came to Joshua Tree to film a music video spray painted a Joshua Tree and a Cholla. I doubt she will ever return to the High Desert to play at Pappy & Harriet’s after the community shaming her and the fine she was issued for the damage of flora as well as having to remove her music video.

To be clear it is NOT illegal to do this outside the national park boundaries but Joshua Trees are protected under the Desert Protection & Antiquities Act so outside the park you can still find yourself in trouble.

Why the fuss, well if humans continue behaving this way adding into factor climate change Joshua Trees will not be around in a 100 years. Because of climate change it’s been predicted that the plants will not exist in a 100 years.

Joshua Tree Yucca brevifolia is not a true tree rather it’s from the Yucca family a slow growing plant with a shallow root system. So when added stress is done, the plant can easily uproot potentially killing the plant.

These plants also provide food & homes for critters. So our impact on the plant can potentially impact other inhabitants.

Other problems we have are folks bringing their dogs off leach and on trails where they are not allowed. Please consider reading the rules and information on the Joshua Tree National Park site and just in general when planning holidays outdoors just as one would research a holiday in a big city doing research on hotels and such, have consideration and do research before visiting any natural habitat.

Building fires in non designated areas is also not allowed. As dry as it is here and basically many western states, we don’t need any more fires. I dismantle many illegal fire pits when hiking around. Also wind is a factor, the embers can easily start another fire.

Other problems have been folks driving their vehicles off the road and parking in non designated areas.

Leaving their trash, leaving their trace of human scent (urine and feces) not packing out toilet paper aka white flowers. When our four legged friends & humans poop and pee it leaves a scent that keeps the Big Horn sheep and other fauna from coming around. Especially to the rare spots where water is. As tempting as it is don’t get in don’t let your pets get in or drink.

Climbers (not saying everyone does but I’ve been present to and spoken up) don’t throw your rack / gear on the flora. Though some flora likes disturbance, I’ve seen too many times folks walk, throw gear on the plants at popular crags. Over time this will kill the plants. SO STOP IT! Give a hoot and pick up your tape, ciggy butts.

There‘s a new Instagram account dedicated to shaming those breaking rules in the park and in the desert, those who have been repeatedly asked nicely and given knowledge as to why thsir Actions and photos are a form of impact. Give them a follow! @JoshuaTreeHatesYou

If you plan on coming out to Joshua Tree or any other outdoors place, considering the impact we have on the environment and the possibilty of having your photos trolled. Well, at least if you’re in Joshua Tree.