Over 9,000 acres of citizen- and BLM-inventoried lands with wilderness characteristics surround the Newberry Mountains Wilderness. The volcanic Newberry Mountains is one of the most accessible wild places in the California desert, just a short drive east of Barstow and close to Interstate 40. The area is known for its deep, twisting canyons, spring wildflower displays, and sweeping vistas. It provides important habitat for iconic and at-risk species such as golden eagle, desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and Mojave monkeyflower.
Recognizing the area’s distinct qualities, the BLM’s planning initiatives under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will permanently protect it as part of the National Landscape Conservation System and designate Areas of Critical Environmental Concern to protect high-density tortoise and Mojave monkeyflower habitat. Under the DRECP, BLM will manage nearly 4,000 acres to protect their wilderness characteristics.
BLM is proposing to designate 29 miles of motor vehicle routes in the Newberry Mountains that would jeopardize the area’s high-quality plant and wildlife habitat and wilderness character, and undercut its designation as a National Conservation Area.
• Newberry Mountains additions span over 9,000 acres of wilderness-quality lands.
• WEMO Plan proposes 29 miles of motorized vehicle routes in the area.
• The area will be permanently protected as a National Conservation Area under the BLM’s DRECP.
• Two Areas of Critical Environmental Concern protect critical habitat for desert tortoise and the rare Mojave monkeyflower.
• BLM will manage about 44% of the area to protect wilderness characteristics.
Findings from the Field:
• Numerous proposed routes do not exist on the ground and are instead naturally occurring desert washes.
• All proposed routes located in desert tortoise critical habitat and the Ord Rodman Area of Critical Environmental Concern, designated to protect high-density and critical tortoise habitat.
• Spray paint cans, shotgun shells, and other illegally dumped items along a proposed route.
• Three proposed routes in the Daggett Ridge Mojave Monkeyflower Area of Critical Environmental Concern, where BLM’s DRECP prohibits the designation of new motorized vehicle routes
• One proposed route terminates at the wilderness boundary without any signage, inviting trespass.