U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Halloween Conservation & Safety Treats Delivered at El Mirage
Before the shadows of the moon descended on the El Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area the Saturday before Halloween, visitors were treated with messages of conservation and safety (and of course, candy). The El Mirage Visitor Center hosted a Halloween conservation and safety day with staff and volunteers all getting in on the fun. Led by BLM Interpretative Specialist Rose Beardshear, Park Ranger Art Basulto and the Friends of El Mirage staff, guests both young and old were presented with the opportunity to walk through the “Maze of Safety”. The maze included many stops where everyone could test their mettle through feats of skill (tossing recycled trash in the appropriate net), strength (tossing tennis-ball-themed garbage items into the a distance trash can), knowledge (a quick game of El Mirage Jeopardy anyone?), speed (riding a short course on tricycles in full OHV safety gear) and bravery (touching one of the many native critters of the desert). Participants were given a checklist of challenges to have marked off -- and each station was another opportunity to learn about the desert environment, an important safety tip, or ways in which each of us can ensure the future use of all public areas.
The day started with a rehabilitation event. Boy Scout Troop 53 out of Phelan, California worked with the NLCS Youth Corp (WildCorp) to help clear an area of debris. Directed by BLM Maintenance Vicki Salazar, both groups performed a host of conservation activities including: raking up old vegetation, cutting out invasive weeds and picking up nails & garbage. These endeavors are helping the BLM clean up the old Visitor Center building and the surrounding area. Afterwards, the Youth Corp had a special environmental program for the Scouts where everyone took a walk into the desert to locate specific plants and animal tracks. The Boy Scouts were working on aspects of the camping merit badge, a requirement of becoming an Eagle Scout.
- by Tim Williamson, Wilderness Specialist, BLM Barstow Field Office (November 2012)