Minerva never envisioned the creation of Joshua Tree NP She never guessed that her National Monument would one day become a National Park. She never imagined that her “monument” would one day hold 501 architectural sites and 88 historic structures.
Before 1994 very few Californians knew very much about the land around Twenty-Nine Palms, the site of one entrance to Joshua Tree NP One Californian who had visited that area was a gentleman from Iran. In fact, that man had purchased 5 acres of land there in Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. He had made that purchase in October of 1990.
That gentleman, who had seen many desert areas in Iran, had never seen anything like the trees in Joshua Tree N.P. He did not know that he was seeing a unique desert ecosystem. Nor did he appreciate the proximity of that ecosystem to a second and different desert ecosystem. The character of Joshua Tree N.P. has evolved from the fact that it contains 2 desert regions—the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. Together those two deserts cover more than 914 acres.
Within those 914 acres live 240 different bird species. Within those 914 acres crawl a few scattered desert tortoises, a species that has been declared endangered. Rising above the land on those 914 acres, one finds here and there a group of Washington palms, trees that create the few inviting oases of Joshua Tree NP
The Joshua Tree NP used to be a favorite spot for rock climbers. They liked to practice their rock-climbing skills on the rocky terrain of the Mohave Desert. Some of them would ascend to the top of a lookout point. From that point they could look down on the nearby Salton Sea.
The man who once purchased land near Joshua Tree N.P. has also been to the Salton Sea. In fact, he has taken a camper to the Salton Sea on two occasions—once in November of 1984 and once during the weekend when the year 1993 changed to 1994.
During the next year that man became the owner of land located close to a National Park. He could have held onto that land, but his son wanted a desert-riding vehicle, instead of a piece of desert. So that gentleman sold his land over by Joshua Tree N.P. He sold it to a man who buys and sells Persian carpets.
Perhaps that gentleman had something that could have been used to fight the July, 2006 fires on land in and near Joshua Tree N.P. Perhaps he had some sort of magic carpet. Unfortunately, the firefighters had neither a magic carpet nor an extra-large, federal plane, a plane that would have been equipped to dowse the fire with an extra-large measure of liquid. No one mentioned the fact that homeowners in the area had each had to drill a private well for their own water. No wonder that fire was hard to fight.