02.11.14

Grant from Edison International Puts Boots on the Ground

We are pleased to announce that this week an all-veterans conservation crew began a four-week project to improve hiking trails in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument near Palm Springs, CA—thanks to a $35,000 grant from Edison International to the Conservation Lands Foundation for the effort.

The funding provides a critical piece in a powerful partnership—one that provides jobs for veterans, accomplishes some much-needed restoration work on a beautiful part of the National Conservation Lands, and results in real benefits for the public.

The 13-person crew is made up of post-9/11 military veterans and is part of the California Conservation Corps. They will be working on the Art Smith, Hopalong Cassidy and Bear Creek Oasis trails to help stop erosion, repair trail berms and clear brush—making the area better for visitors and enhancing surrounding habitat.

With guidance from BLM staff, the crew will tackle work on more than 10 miles of trail, much of it rugged and remote. The goal is to make much-needed improvements to three popular trails—one of which goes through a Wilderness area. The veterans conservation crew will be joined by volunteers from Network group Friends of the Desert Mountains and Desert Trails Hiking Club, two non-profit organizations that have been local stewards and advocates for the monument, for a special work day February 19th.

The Conservation Lands Foundation’s Restoration Program builds partnerships made up of veterans and youth conservation corps, BLM field staff, corporate funders, and “Friends” groups to accomplish on-the-ground projects on the National Conservation Lands. Similar work took place last summer in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area in Colorado, a project that was funded by RBC (Royal Bank of Canada).

The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument includes spectacular desert scenery, critical wildlife habitat for animals including Peninsular bighorn sheep, and more than 300 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and some for mountain biking. Part of BLM’s National Conservation Lands, the monument hosts approximately 500,000 visitors each year and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service in coordination with Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other partners.

Thank you Edison International–this grant will go a long way toward ensuring this popular national monument remains a natural and beautiful place for wildlife and generations of people to come.

Trail running in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto MountainsNational Monument (Photo courtesy of Bob Wick, BLM)

Trail running in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (Photos courtesy of Bob Wick, BLM)