Exploring the Proposed Chuckwalla National Monument: Advocating for California’s Desert

Chuckwalla National Monument
Photo: Annie Nyborg

Recently, I had the privilege of hosting TCA’s inaugural Advocate Outdoors event in the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument. We convened a group of passionate advocates and community leaders from member companies as well as grantee and partner organizations to explore this remarkable landscape and learn about the importance of its protection. The Advocate Outdoors field events are designed to connect TCA’s member companies to priority landscapes and local partners dedicated to their needed protection. 

This first Advocate Outdoors event aligned with an exciting milestone in the campaign to designate the Chuckwalla National Monument. That morning in D.C., Senators Padilla and Butler and Representative Ruiz announced legislation to create the Chuckwalla National Monument and expand Joshua Tree National Park. While the campaign is still pursuing designation through the Antiquities Act, this marker bill shows the commitment and leadership from local and state officials to protect this land. 

Exploring the California Desert
Our journey began with a hike through Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness, one of the jewels of the proposed national monument. As we traversed the winding paths, we were surrounded by towering rock formations adorned with vibrant hues, a testament to the geological wonders sculpted by millions of years of erosion. Led by local naturalists and conservation leaders, Colin and Sendy Barrows, we engaged in discussions about the importance of preserving Chuckwalla’s unique ecosystem, which provides habitat for a diverse array of plant and animal species, including rare desert flora and fauna. We were even lucky enough to even see a Chuckwalla lizard, the proposed monument’s namesake.

Creating Community Connections
One of the highlights of our journey was the opportunity to connect with local on-the-ground partners who are actively involved in advocating for the designation of Chuckwalla National Monument. While at camp at Joshua Tree National Park, on the ground partners CalWild, Cactus to Cloud, Conservation Lands Foundation, and COFEM, shared insights into their work and current challenges the landscape faces. We learned about the threats facing this fragile landscape, from habitat destruction to climate change, and the urgent need for conservation efforts to safeguard its future for generations to come.

After a day of exploration, we pitched our Jack Wolfskin tents under the stars and enjoyed dinner by Backpacker’s Pantry and beverages from Pure Project and Best Day Brewing.  Around the campfire, we shared stories and created new community ties, united by our shared love for the outdoors and our commitment to preserving it.

Companies Taking a Stand for Conservation
I feel a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunity to experience the beauty of the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument and applaud the companies who are taking a stand for the conservation of this critical landscape. In addition to the member companies who visited the landscape, there are nearly 60 companies nation-wide who support the designation of Chuckwalla National Monument. These companies know that protecting these public lands is good for people, access to the outdoors, and contribute to a thriving outdoor economy. By harnessing the collective influence, resources, and expertise of companies, we can amplify the call for conservation and ensure the preservation of this remarkable landscape for future generations. 

Thank you to our sponsors:
Peak Design, Jack Wolfskin, Backpacker’s Pantry, Pure Brewing, Best Day, Ramble Wine, GU, and Outdoor Tech

Thank you to our on-the-ground partners:
CalWild, Conservation Lands Foundation, Cactus to Clouds, and COFEM.

Photo: Annie Nyborg

More information:
Learn more about the efforts to designate Chuckwalla National Monument here. Want to take additional action? Reach out to Bridgette Windell, TCA Public Lands Advocacy Coordinator, at Bridgette@conservationalliance.com.