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Mojave Desert, Mojave Desert Land Trust



Photos © Drew Reese

Inholdings Acquisition Program

Inholdings are privately held parcels within the boundaries of public lands, such as national parks, national forests, state parks, designated wilderness or other protected areas.  

Mojave Desert Land Trust works diligently to acquire inholdings within the Wilderness areas and three national parks that serve as the core of the vast California Desert ecosystem: Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Death Valley National Park.  Development of privately owned lands within these areas presents one of the most significant threats to the ecological integrity of the entire region.

Wilderness Inholdings

There are more than 145,000 acres of private land, representing over 1,800 parcels located within the California Desert.  Because Wilderness designations do not apply to privately owned lands within designated areas, such inholdings can significantly degrade Wilderness values and resources.  Inholdings can be developed as building sites, renewable energy sites, or used for mining or grazing.  These lands are regulated only by local government zoning and planning laws, which could result in the  fragmentation of pristine ecosystems and environmental degradation, such as air and water pollution, soil erosion, loss of solitude and disruption of wildlife.

Desert National Parks Inholdings

Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Death Valley National Park combine to include over five million acres of America’s natural desert heritage and are managed to ensure the long-term protection of the cultural, biological, scenic and open space qualities of these landscapes.

There are more than 98,000 acres of private land held by more than 2,200 landowners located within these three parks, with the majority located within Mojave National Preserve.  Development of these lands for rural home sites, commercial and solar facilities, and off-road-vehicle recreational areas threaten adjacent national park lands. Uncontrolled land use activities, such as dumping and land clearing, also adversely impact these ecosystems and the wild and scenic nature of these vast national parks. 

Mojave Desert Land Trust works to protect lands within these areas through consistent outreach to landowners and direct acquisition from willing sellers.  Often times, the property owners have inherited the land and are unfamiliar with the desert.  Moreover, many of the properties are located in remote wilderness areas and are inaccessible or difficult to reach.  Following are two examples that typify an inholding acquisition:

Painting © Diane Best

Landscape painting of the great Mojave Desert by Diane Best.

© 2016 Mojave Desert Land Trust. P.O. Box 1544 • 60124 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA 92252 • (760) 366-5440 • Fax (888) 869-4981 •
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