The Rose Valley provides an almost 22,000-acre wilderness-quality landscape. It’s largely unspoiled character makes it prime habitat for numerous bird and animal species, including the endangered Owens Valley checker bloom and western yellow-billed cuckoo, the threatened desert tortoise, American badger, desert bighorn sheep, golden eagle, and more. The area’s vegetation and loose soils also provide extensive and intact habitat for the threatened Mohave ground squirrel. The area has rich cultural resources – including examples of some of the earliest bow and arrow technology – and ample opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation.
Recognizing its uniqueness, the BLM’s proposal under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will permanently protect most of the Rose Valley landscape as a National Conservation Area. At the same time, BLM is proposing to fragment the area with over 76 miles of motorized vehicle routes – many of which BLM has characterized as “eroding away” and “all but disappeared.” Opening these routes to motorized vehicles would reward illegal activity and cause serious damage to the area’s wilderness characteristics, important wildlife habitat, and outstanding cultural and scenic values.
• Rose Valley encompasses almost 22,000 acres of BLM-inventoried lands with wilderness characteristics.
• WEMO Plan proposes 76.5 miles of motorized vehicle routes.
• Area features extensive and highly intact Mohave ground squirrel habitat.
• Area will be permanently protected as a National Conservation Area under the BLM’s DRECP.
Findings from the Field:
• Confirmed BLM’s own assessment that most proposed routes “can no longer be found” and “have all but disappeared” due to non-use and highly erodible soils.
• Numerous proposed routes that do not exist on the ground and are instead naturally occurring desert washes.
• Multiple proposed routes causing substantial erosion.
• Nearly 30 miles of proposed routes fragmenting extensive and highly intact habitat for the imperiled Mohave ground squirrel.
• An unsigned and unblocked open mine shaft at the origin of a proposed route, posing a significant public safety hazard.