LOCALS EAGER TO HEAR SYMPOSIUM ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

The Bell Center at Copper Mountain College was nearly full on Friday night as Sandy Smith, executive director of the Copper Mountain College Foundation, moderated the symposium, “Sustainable Tourism: Balancing Tourism and Conservation and Preservation.” Reporter Heather Clisby was there…

The Bell Center conference room on the Copper Mountain College campus was nearly full for a symposium on sustainable tourism. Heather Clisby photo.

With visitation to Joshua Tree National Park nearly doubling in the last five years, Friday night’s symposium, “Sustainable Tourism: Balancing Tourism and Conservation and Preservation,” played out before a room full of locals eager to hear the strategy for a new normal that includes nearly three million visitors to the park every year.

Ryan Becker, vice president of communications for Visit California, told the audience at a sustainable tourism symposium that most of the travel industry has focused more on environmental stewardship over the last two years. Heather Clisby photo

Ryan Becker, vice president of communications for Visit California, stated that most of the travel industry has focused more on environmental stewardship over the last two years.

Gary Orfield, director of tourism development of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitor Bureau, mentioned efforts to obtain passenger rail service from Los Angeles which would not only alleviate visitor traffic but could also decrease the number of freight trucks on the roads and highways. Heather Clisby photo

Gary Orfield, director of tourism development of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitor Bureau, mentioned efforts to obtain passenger rail service from Los Angeles which would not only alleviate visitor traffic but could also decrease the number of freight trucks on the roads and highways.

Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith said the park’s budget has remained the same despite attendance increasing by 130 percent. Heather Clisby photo

David Smith, superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park, noted that while visitorship has increased 130 percent, the park’s budget has remained the same.

The evening included bigger discussion around water, dogs in the park, and light pollution. All panelists made a plea for locals to become ambassadors and educate visitors.

CALTRANS CONTINUES CONSTRUCTION ON INTERSTATE 10

Caltrans is continuing work on Interstate 10 this week. From today through March 13, work will be completed in the eastbound center median from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from 8th street in Banning to Main Street in Cabazon. During the hours of 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., alternating lane and ramp closures will be in place to continue work in the center median, strengthen the shoulder and improve concrete in both directions.

BLOOD DRIVE AT VONS TUESDAY

LifeStream will conduct a community blood drive on Tuesday, March 3, at Vons in Yucca Valley from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Donors receive incentives. In addition, LifeStream offers receive free cholesterol screening with every blood donation. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 800-TRY-GIVING.

LANDERS TIRE CLEAN UP SATURDAY

They appear as a single tire—or more often in stacks of two, three or four tires—hastily dumped along county roads in the dead of night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has news of an effort this Saturday to get these eyesores out of our desert and into a recycling program…

When law-abiding people replace tires, they leave them with the tire shop for a small fee; the Landers landfill accepts tires for about $5.25 each; but a great number of tires are illegally discarded along our desert roads. This Saturday, March 7, County Code Enforcement and the Landers Association team up to get those discarded tires out of our communities and into a recycling program for free. Open to residents in the unincorporated areas in and around Landers, Saturday’s event takes place at Homestead Valley Park on Belfield Boulevard from 8 a.m. to noon. Residents are limited to bringing nine tires per load; tires with and without rims will be accepted.  Please do not leave tires at the park before or after this even; no commercial haulers. Volunteers are needed; call 760-449-4048 for more information.

DESERT INSTITUTE OFFERING “HIKE AND HEAL” CLASS

Do you seek life changes but need inspiration? The Desert Institute is offering a “Hike and Heal” class that will offer tools to help you move forward in the right direction while taking in our gorgeous desert landscape. Reporter Heather Clisby has more details …

The Desert Institute is offering a class called “Hike and Heal” designed to address the heavy emotional loads that many of us carry in our lives. Led by Sydney Williams, author of “Hiking My Feelings,” the class will address the ramifications of unresolved traumas followed by a hike through Joshua Tree National Park.

Using her own life as a Type 2 Diabetes patient as an example of how hiking helped her heal, Williams will encourage attendees to unburden themselves by sharing personal stories of pain and struggle. After an initial sharing session, there will be a 6.5-mile moderate hike that includes self-discovery exercises. The class will be held on March 14 starting at 9 am. Sign up by visiting the Desert Institute at joshuatree.org.