Camping Death Valley News and Events Route 395 State Parks

Celebrate Earth Day & National Park Week in Death Valley National Park

Written by Charlie Pankey

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Death Valley National Park will host a variety of programs April 14-22 for Earth Day and National Park Week. One of 419 national park sites, Death Valley is 3.4 million acres, the largest national park in the contiguous United States.

Biologists and park rangers will present programs about wildlife, plants, geology, astronomy and more.   Throughout the week, biologists Jason Wallace, Laura Cunningham, and James Cornett will share their extensive knowledge of the Mojave Desert.  Since 2007, Jason has managed the Desert Studies Center (Zzyzx), a field research station of the California State University System, located within Mojave National Preserve. He has done research on Mojave fringe-toed lizards, desert tortoises, Mohave tui chubs, and desert willows.

Artist and conservation biologist, Laura Cunningham has studied desert tortoises, Panamint alligator lizards, and pupfish for over 20 years. She wrote and illustrated “A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California.” Author and biologist, James Cornett has been studying Joshua trees for over 30 years. He has written a number of books on desert ecology including “Wildlife of the Southwest Deserts.”    Rangers will offer presentations throughout the week and weekend.

On Saturday, 4/20, Death Valley is celebrating Junior Ranger Day and Fee-Free Day. Families can learn about endangered species and pupfish in a drop-in program from 1 pm- 3 pm at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.  At 5 pm, James Cornett will share his research about Joshua trees in the auditorium.

On 4/20 and 4/21, visitors can experience some of the darkest skies in the country in an astronomy program at 9:00 pm at Harmony Borax Works.   In honor of Earth Day, 4/22, visitors can enjoy a two-hour ranger-led sunrise hike at Zabriskie Point at 6 am.  Hikes may be on uneven or rough terrain.  Visitors should wear sturdy shoes, bring water, snacks, and sun protection.  At 5 pm, visitors can participate in a ranger-led discussion about environmental impacts of solar projects in the Mojave Desert.  

All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, check out the calendar of events on

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Charlie Pankey

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