BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 557

Juniper Flats Community Comes Together to Better the Environment

a group of people poses in a rocky landscape
Barstow Field Office Biological Technician Miguel Mejia & the Juniper Flats Community Partnership

Tired of seeing graffiti and trash in a popular staging area called Renegade Rocks, various members of the Juniper Flats community came together on Saturday, November 10th to continue returning the area to a more natural state.  The work day was organized by Barstow BLM Biological Technician Miguel Mejia, Friends of Juniper Flats Director Jennifer Wilder and Rattlesnake Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Fire Captain Jason Schmidt.  Assistance was provided by volunteers from the Friends’ group, fire department volunteers and the SCA WildCorp.  Saturday saw the continuation of this partnership in cleaning up our public lands.

Juniper Flats is an area of public and private lands in the northern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. The attractive hilly desert area is east of Hesperia and south of Apple Valley and is a popular Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) riding area.  The Flats feature several riparian areas, rare in the high desert, which attract a range of wildlife, including vireos, horned lizards, bobcats, great horned owls, eagles, and a host of other birdlife.  The Juniper Flats Area is a favorite place for recreation of a growing number of residents in the nearby communities.

The day began with a general picking up of debris and trash before moving on to the graffiti on the rocks.  Residents of this area have worked together for a long time to keep this environment natural and minimize the impacts said Schmidt, who was born and raised in the area.  Working together in this partnership helps all of us communicate the issues and concerns of both residents and recreationists mentioned Wilder.  The Friends’ group regular conducts hikes and clean-up events with the Volunteer Fire Department and local community.

“Days like these help all of us who care about this area see that together we can work to return a look of naturalness back to the mountains” said Mejia.  Miguel has spent just over ten years in this area and has helped create this partnership between the Federal Government, a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to the betterment of the area, the Fire Department and the local community.  “We all care about the places we love and getting to work with and know these people has made easier for all of us to make a difference” added Miguel.

The Friends of Juniper Flats is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, preservation and restoration of the resources in the Juniper Flats region.  The Rattlesnake Mountain Volunteer Fire Department’s mission is to help the forest be what it once was. They help prevent possible wild fires from spreading and assist local law enforcement with search and rescue missions and aid stranded motorists in the area.  To assist in future clean-up events in this area please contact any of the listed organizations or call the Barstow BLM Field Office at (760) 252-6000.

people pick up trash among dried grasses
The volunteer event gathered up over 200 pounds of trash and debris.

volunteers clear graffiti
Residents of Juniper Flats scrapped the eyesores off the rock formation.

volunteers clean paint off of boulders
Rattlesnake Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Jason Schmidt works with his son to better their community.

people remove paint from rocks
Friends’ of Juniper Flats Director Jennifer Wilder (in Yellow) leads a work crew in cleaning the rocks.

volunteers clean up near large boulders
BLM Biological Technician Miguel Mejia uses a sprayer with hot water to blast over the scrubbers’ work.

- Tim Williamson, Wilderness Specialist (Nov. 13, 2012)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 557 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.