Chuckwalla Bench Dec. 6 Four-Wheel Drive Tour Will Explore Wildlife, History, Geology. Mojave Desert Land Trust Co-hosts Free Trip to See Lands That Need Protection

Nov 26, 2014
The Wilderness Society and the Mojave Desert Land Trust are co-hosting a free guided four-wheel-drive tour Dec. 6 to visit the spectacular Chuckwalla Bench east of the Coachella Valley.

Chuckwalla Bench is located about an hour east of Indio and is rich in stagecoach history, diverse wildlife and lush desert trees and plants. As one of California’s Desert Treasures, Chuckwalla Bench should be preserved from development so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.

The California Desert is home to remarkably diverse lands and special places full of life including Chuckwalla Bench. The future of these lands is being decided with a new joint federal and state initiative, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a comprehensive effort to help guide long term planning for conservation of special desert lands as well as identify areas that are suitable for renewable energy development.

“Along with its incredible beauty, Chuckwalla Bench is full of history. This includes the Bradshaw Trail, once a busy 70-mile-long stagecoach route, a part of which we’ll travel,” said Matt Jatovsky, California Desert Representative for The Wilderness Society. “Today it’s a popular four-wheel-drive road with memorable mountain and valley views.”

The six-hour Chuckwalla Bench trip will make many stops so that visitors can get out and explore this little-visited jewel that is northeast of the Salton Sea.

“These lands are alive with more than 150 bird species including hawks, tanagers and hummingbirds,” said Frazier Haney, Conservation Director.  “Seasonal storms give life to a desert forest that includes palo verde, ironwood trees and the rare Munz cholla. This lush forest in turn sustains desert tortoise, chuckwalla and the rarely seen burro deer.”

Space is limited, and four-wheel drive vehicles are required, but participants without 4WD cars may join carpools.  RSVPs  are required, contact: .  The trip starts at 9 am and visitors must bring lunch, adequate water and be prepared for an all-day desert outing.

The Wilderness Society is spotlighting California Desert Treasures on its tours, its website and in a booklet to focus on some of the many special places in the California desert that should be preserved for wildlife, cultural riches and recreation and put off limits to large-scale renewable energy development.

They include iconic American lands such as the remote Silurian Valley, which is at the heart of a special region of the desert and which features spring wildflower blooms and traces of the Old Spanish Trail once used by travelers in the 1800s; or lush Big Morongo Canyon with its year-round creek that feeds one of the largest riparian habitats of its type in the state and attracts hundreds of bird species.

In the coming months, The Wilderness Society will host other trips for Discovering California’s Desert Treasures. Contact   for further information.

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The Wilderness Society is the leading wild public lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.  

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) protects the Mojave Desert ecosystem and its scenic and cultural resource values. MDLT has conserved over 53,000 acres of desert land through land acquisition, stewardship and strategic partnerships.

Matt Jatovsky