In early November, nine Bay Area Climbers Coalition board members visited Joshua Tree National Park as part of BACC’s first ever Destination Stewardship event! The idea grew out of discussion around other areas Bay Area climbers often travel to and have a major environmental impact (Yosemite, Donner, Bishop, etc.), combined with a desire to give back to those climbing areas, in addition to our beloved Bay Area crags.
BACC partnered with the National Park Service to volunteer our time to help with an ongoing research project investigating the effects of climate change on Joshua trees, which belong to the Yucca genus and only grow in a few specific climate zones in California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.
After an in-depth introduction to the park and a safety talk, the BACC group was paired with Vegetation Branch rangers and experienced local volunteers and headed out down a dirt road to spend the day at designated monitoring plots within the national park. Tasks involved counting the number of living and dead Joshua trees, assessing their overall health and collecting data points and GPS coordinates for future comparisons. The park is mainly reliant on volunteers to run this program and funding from private donors.
The next day, the BACC crew enjoyed some trad climbing and bouldering in park! We’d like to thank the NPS staff for welcoming our group and teaching us so much about Joshua trees and ongoing conservation efforts. Also, thanks to BACC Stewardship Director Jen Bruursema for organizing and coordinating the trip.