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California Desert District

California Desert Conservation Area


Dumont Sand Dunes

Q. What does the plan contain?

A. The plan establishes goals for protection and for use of the Desert. It designates distinct multiple use classes for the lands involved, and it establishes a framework for managing the various resources within these classes.

Q. What are the multiple use classes?

A. These classes are the backbone of the CDCA Plan. They "zone" the Desert into four major use categories, just like cities are zoned for various land uses such as commercial and residential.

Q. What are the four multiple use classes?

  • About 4 million acres are Class C (controlled). These include 69 wilderness areas totaling 3,667,020 acres created by Congress with the October, 1994 passage of the California Desert Protection Act. These lands are to be preserved in a natural state and access is generally limited to non-motorized, non-mechanized means (i.e., by foot or horseback).
  • About 4 million acres are Class L (limited use). These lands are managed to protect sensitive, natural, scenic, ecological, and cultural resource values. They provide for generally lower-intensity, carefully controlled multiple uses that do not significantly diminish resource values.
  • About 1.5 million acres are Class M (moderate use). These lands are managed in a controlled balance between higher intensity use and protection. A wide variety of uses, such as mining, livestock grazing, recreation, energy, and utility development are allowed. Any damage, which permitted uses cause, must be mitigated.
  • About 500,000 acres are in Class I (intensive use). These lands are managed for concentrated use to meet human needs. Reasonable protection is provided for sensitive natural values, and mitigation of impacts and rehabilitation of impacted areas will occur when possible.

Q. What kind of framework is established for the various resource uses?

A. The plan sets out goals, specific actions, and management needs for each resource in the Desert. All these commitments are made within Congress' mandate to provide for protection, development, and use of the public lands within the CDCA.

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