Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark
The Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark was designated by the Secretary of the Interior on October 1966. Located on the western slopes of the Beaver Dam Mountains, this National Natural Landmark is now within the boundaries of the newly-designated Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area.
Natural Landmark status was given to this area because of the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree vegetation association. The most dominant and dramatic of the plants in this association is the Joshua Tree
(Yucca breviflora). At 1,015 acres, the Natural Landmark is but a small portion of the several thousand acre Joshua Tree forest. It is the only Joshua Tree forest in Utah and the northernmost significant stand of tree yuccas in the United States (some smaller, insignificant stands occur in Nevada near Tonopah and the Pahranagat Mountains).
The landscape of the Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark has changed significantly since its designation in 1969. These changes are largely due to the wildland fires that occured in 1993 and again in 2006. Most of the Joshua Trees are now gone from within the national landmark, but can still be seen along the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road Scenic Backway used to gain access to the site. Other interesting desert adapted plants, especially those loving limestone conditions, can be seen nestled into the nooks and crannies of the Bulldog Knolls. Look for Spiny Brickellbush (Brickella atractyloides), Utah Agave (Agave utahensis), Limestone Buckwheat (Eriogonum heermannii var.sulcatum), Crevice Penstemon (Penstemon petiolatus), and of course, Butterfly Bush (Buddleja utahensis).