DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — Join Death Valley National Park in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act by participating in a “Wilderness Walk” within the 3.1 million acres of designated wilderness in the lower 48’s largest designated area.
Wilderness is a specific designation bestowed by Congress for the “permanent good of the whole people.”
Congress established a National Wilderness Preservation System in 1964 to be composed of federally-owned areas for the preservation of wilderness character, which retains qualities such as natural, undeveloped, untrammeled and offers opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation.
The walks will be held this spring on “Wilderness Wednesdays.” The dates will be March 19 and 26 and April 2, until resumption in the fall.
There will be family-friendly hikes from two to three hours, or longer excursions from four to six hours, including driving time to destinations not regularly visited by the park’s guided hikes.
All hikes will be within a 45-minute drive of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. In addition, the park will offer programs that touch on the wilderness theme throughout the year.
The hikes will be led by the park’s wilderness coordinator Ranger Charlie Callagan, a 23-year veteran of the park.
Ranger Callagan worked in the park before it had any protected wilderness.
The California Desert Protection Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, changing Death Valley’s status from a National Monument to a National Park, and adding 1.3 million acres of former Bureau of Land Management land.
Walks will be limited to 15 people, so advance registration is necessary.
Sign-up starts the Monday before the hike, you can stop by the Furnace Creek Visitor Center front desk to register.
For more information about Death Valley National Park go to www.nps.gov/deva.