Like everything else about us, camping has been altered by technology. Ranger Pam Tripp surveys the history of roughing it…
In the early days, hikers discovered the desert using a keen sense of direction, a good memory, and plenty of luck. They took a low-tech approach to exploring their environment. Today, campers and hikers rely on expensive and sometimes complicated equipment to enjoy the great outdoors. Let’s take a brief look and compare old and new equipment and technologies. In the early days path finding, communication, and camping were done with a map and compass, reflecting mirrors and flashlight, and oil cloth or heavy canvas tent. Today, many of use GPS, two-way radios or cell phones, and lightweight, nylon tents. Even picture taking has in many cases switched from 35 mm or digital cameras to our trusty cell phone cameras. The way we explore the desert has changed over the years, but one thing remains constant—our appreciation for this wonderful place called Joshua Tree National Park.


Juniors and seniors are encouraged to apply for the Future Achievers of Science and Technology (FAST) program at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont. The FAST program includes class visits, research lab demos, an overnight stay in one of the residence halls, hands-on experiments and workshops, and more. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with Harvey Mudd College students, professors and other college-bound students who share their passion for math and science. The FAST programs are absolutely free, and participants receive a fee waiver for their HMC freshman application. The deadline to apply is March 3. For more information, contact Steven Howes at Twentynine Palms High School.


Back by popular demand, the Morongo Basin Historical Society will hold Area 62 Days every Saturday and Sunday through April. This event will have fun for the entire family as participants will be able to learn about the history and legends of Giant Rock and UFOs, see a crashed UFO and stuff from the crash site, and aliens. UFO-themed food and beverages will also be available. The Area 62 Days will be held at the Morongo Basin Historical Society’s Museum, 632 Landers Lane in Landers. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children.


With the run of the second production of the year at Theater 29 underway, preparations are starting for its successor. Mike Lipsitz has the audition call for “Nunset Boulevard”…
Auditions for the latest in the hilarious musical comedy series, “Nunset Boulevard – The Nunsense Hollywood Bowl Show,” start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 3rd at Theatre 29 at the corner of Adobe and Sullivan roads in Twentynine Palms. “Nunset Boulevard” runs for five weeks beginning April 25th. It follows the exploits of The Little Sisters of Hoboken, who have been invited to perform at the Hollywood Bowl, or more precisely, the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama — a bowling alley and cabaret lounge. Director Kathryn Ferguson will cast 17 singer/actors. Most roles require the ability to sing; all require some comedic timing. Come prepared with a karaoke tape or professional backing track as accompaniment, no live accompanist will be available. All audition pieces must be Broadway music. Be prepared for cold readings. Stage crew volunteers should also attend auditions. For more information, contact the director at


Californians might not be paying as much in excise taxes at the gas pump starting this summer, but don’t expect to spend less overall. The California State Board of Equalization voted Tuesday to reduce the excise tax rate by 3 ½ cents, or 10 percent, effective July 1. California motorists currently pay nearly 71 cents in federal and state taxes per gallon of gasoline, of which 39.5 cents are state excise taxes. The national average for all taxes on a gallon of gas is about 50 cents, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But a possible reduction in excise tax won’t necessarily mean drivers will be paying less at the pump. Due to a complicated “fuel tax swap” formula that raises the sales tax as the excise tax is lowered, and vice versa, consumers will pay about the same amount in taxes to the state. BOE member George Runner said in a statement, “Our vote … is good news for California taxpayers. This much-needed tax relief will arrive as Californians are on the road for summer vacations.”


The Morongo Basin CHP is offering another FREE Start Smart class for teen drivers and new drivers. These classes provide valuable safety information, and classroom instruction on collision avoidance techniques, collision-causing elements, and driver responsibilities. The class will be held on Tuesday, March 4, in the CHP offices on the highway in Joshua Tree starting at 6 p.m.  Parents/guardians are encouraged to attend as well. Reservations are required by calling Officer Joan Griffin at 760-366-3707.


Local Transition Joshua Tree members Tim Delorey and Nicholas Holmes have received scholarships from the Nutiva company to attend the Permaculture Voices Convention from March 13 – 16 in Temecula, CA. The convention will be comprised of 60 sessions featuring over 40 world-renown speakers who are on the cutting edge of permaculture research. Permaculture is a land use design method that works with the deep patterns of nature to regenerate ecosystems and create sustainable human habitation.  Each Scholarship applicant had to submit an exhaustive application to demonstrate that he or she is an Eco-Entrepreneur:  someone who has been running an eco-business for less than 2 years or is in the process of starting an eco-business that doesn’t yet exist.