I have been living in the area of Southern California known as the High Desert (which the local calls it but the more accurate term is the Mojave Desert) for the last five years. The high deserts is defined as areas 3,000 feet and higher with an average annual precipitation of less than 10 inches. It tends to be much colder in the winter as low as the teens than the familiar low land deserts but just as hot in the summer. The Mojave Desert hosts about 200 endemic plant species found in neither of the adjacent deserts.Cactus are usually restricted to the coarse soils of bajadas. Mojave Yucca and, at higher elevations Desert Spanish Bayonet, a narrow-leafed yucca, are prominent. Creosote Bush, Shadscale, Big Sagebrush, Bladder-sage, bursages and Blackbush are common shrubs of the Mojave Desert.
Now that I’m back here, I have come to love and appreciate the beauty the desert has to offer even more. Since the weather has been good and to alleviate the feeling of cabin fever, I have been taking two to three miles walk every day in the adjacent unincorporated area of San Bernardino county next to my friend’s house. There are so many trails to explore in the area and I have taken my friend’s two dog, Bailey and Willie, along with me to explore different one every day.
Since I love following tracks, we have seen various animal and vehicle tracks such as deer, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, jackrabbits, motorcycle, cars and trucks. One day, we even followed a set of barefoot prints that were the size of a teenager or young adult. The sad reality of the barefoot track led me to a homeless camp which is common to the area since the freeway is only two miles away. The other sad reality of being close to the freeway is all of the illegal dumping that goes on in the area. I have stumbled upon so many illegal construction materials dump. I even witness two illegal dumpers disposing trash during broad daylight. I tried to take pictures, however one was too far away and the other one I only took picture of the license plate which the Sheriff needed more picture where it show the person and the vehicle as well. Maybe I will get lucky next time.
I’m not a “greenie” but I do believe in respecting the use of the public lands for recreational use. I have been taught and have pass on the tradition to my children as well, that we leave the area cleaner than we found it. We have alway brought extra trash bags with us so we can pick up the trash along the way. However, it may not be enough anymore. More and more area are being closed for recreational use. Some “greenie” blames it on the off road vehicle users (OHV) and others blames it on the homeless people. From what I have seen, I believe it is a combination of the OHV, homeless and the non-local residents are the ones that causing the problem. So, how do we solve the problem? The “greenie” philosophy is to close the area to OHV uses which I disagree since we pay taxes and entrance fees for the use of those area. OHV groups have offered “clean up days” which helps but does not solve the problem.
In my personal opinion, we need to take back the concept of “responsibility” for our action. If we don’t then more and more public land will be taken away from us because that will be the only solution to the problem.