JOSHUA TREE MAC HEARS SHARP DIFFERENCES OVER PLANS FOR SECTION 6

JOSHUA TREE MAC HEARS SHARP DIFFERENCES OVER PLANS FOR SECTION 6

All in attendance at the meeting of the Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council agreed that conservation is a good thing. But opinions on how to implement it in Section 6 differed sharply. Reporter Dan Stork was there, and describes those differences…
Tim Millington, the Regional Manager for San Bernardino Special Districts, began his presentation with a history of the Desert View Conservation Area, more commonly known as Section 6. County Service Area 20 acquired the square mile, just off Quail Spring Road at Onaga Trail, from the Bureau of Land Management in 1964, with the condition that the County would make a plan for its use. Despite sporadic efforts in the course of nearly 50 years, that hasn’t happened. During that time, the area has seen illegal camping and campfires, dumping, shooting, OHV riding, and unregulated equestrian use. Millington presented a vision for the future that includes clearly marked roads, a gated entrance, designated parking areas, latrines, informational kiosks, and trails dedicated to hiking and horses. He said it’s hard to get grants to fund the work, due to the perception that the proximity of Joshua Tree National Park makes such facilities unnecessary. In the Q&A that followed Millington’s slide show, several residents said that most elements of the plan are inconsistent with the goal of conservation, particularly equestrian use. There was a strong sentiment that conservation would be best served by leaving the area as it is. Community Center administrator Frank Haggard countered that a do-nothing approach guarantees that abuses will continue, so that some restructuring is appropriate. Millington added that there is a history of horse usage that should be acknowledged and engaged.

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