news releases

30 November -0001

Latino Youth “Roughing It” in the Outdoors to Celebrate Anniversaries of Wilderness and the California Desert Protection Acts

Category: News Releases

INDIO & PALM DESERT, CA – While celebrations can take different forms, 12 Latino youth from the Indio area will get back to basics this weekend as they hike and camp throughout the California desert and wilderness to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. While hiking multiple locations, hearing from local experts and sleeping in tents, the youth will reflect on the role Latinos play as stewards of the desert.

“Latinos have an important voice in the protection of our public lands,” said Pastor Frank Ruiz, co-founder of Por La Creación: Faith-based Alliance and a leader of the Indio Spanish Seventh Day Adventist Church. “We have a moral responsibility to future generations to protect God’s creation -- preserving the mountains, rivers, deserts and other breathtaking landscapes of our nation. These youth want to continue the legacy that the California Desert Protection Act and Wilderness Act established so that future generations may continue to experience them as we do today.”

Sponsored by Por La Creación, Hispanic Access Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association and the Rose Foundation, the youth will hike and camp outdoors in Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve and visit Amboy Crater in the Mojave Desert. On Saturday, the youth will partake in the Mojave National Preserve Star Party and meet NASA scientists, desert enthusiasts and natural resource managers.

The trip underscores the growing involvement of Hispanics in environmental conservation throughout the country. Numerous surveys show that this community is passionate about the outdoors and protecting public lands, and with Latinos making up approximately 50 percent of the Inland Empire population, it’s no surprise that there is such a large focus on the California desert.

“Latinos possess a strong passion for the outdoors and commitment to protecting our public lands,” said Maite Arce, president of Hispanic Access Foundation. “Celebrating these anniversaries is an opportunity to not only recognize the previous efforts to protect these lands, but also highlight how Latinos – especially our youth who are our next generation of conservation champions – can ensure that this legacy stays protected for many years to come.”

The California Desert Protection Act was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton on October 31, 1994.  This landmark conservation legislation established the Mojave National Preserve, enlarged and re-designated Joshua Tree and Death Valley as national parks, and established 69 wilderness areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the California desert. The Wilderness Act of 1964 signed by President Lyndon Johnson is responsible for the protection of more than 109 million acres of federal land.

“The California Desert Protection Act and the Wilderness Act have helped protect millions of acres across the country. However, in the California desert there are still many threats and opportunities to do more,” said Seth Shteir, California desert senior field representative for the National Parks Conservation Association. “From the exporting of ground water to encroachments from renewable energy developments, we’re risking the future of this region. Additions to Joshua Tree, Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve, and even establishing new monuments and wilderness areas, will make sure that our children’s children will still be able to enjoy these places like we do today.”


About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Contact Us