Desert Survivors is an affiliation of desert lovers committed to experiencing, sharing and protecting desert wilderness wherever we find it. We recognize the places we love to explore will not remain wild unless we give others the opportunity to experience them as we do and unless we remain vigilant and active in our efforts to monitor and preserve them.

Desert Survivors at Joaquin Rocks, Memorial Day weekend 2018.  Desert Survivors drove into the Clear Creek Management Area in Fresno County and backpacked to these massive sandstone monoliths that were the alleged hideout of 19th-century bandit Joaquin Murrieta.  Historian Susan Lee Johnson wrote,  "So many tales have grown up around Murrieta that it is hard to disentangle the fabulous from the factual. There seems to be a consensus that Anglos drove him from a rich mining claim, and that, in rapid succession, his wife was raped, his half-brother lynched, and Murrieta himself horse-whipped. He may have worked as a monte dealer for a time; then, according to whichever version one accepts, he became either a horse trader and occasional horse thief, or a bandit."  By 1853, the California state legislature considered Murrieta enough of a criminal to authorized hiring a company of 20 California Rangers to hunt him down.  On July 25, 1853, a group of Rangers encountered a band of armed Mexican men near Coalinga, California. In the confrontation, three of the Mexicans were killed. They claimed one was Murrieta.  The man's head was cut off and displayed as a side-show attraction for over 50 years; the head ultimately being destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Become a member of Desert Survivors and join us on excursions to places of intruige and historical significance. 
Photo: Sophie Taggart

U.S. District Court for Northern California rules in favor of
Desert Survivors and fellow plaintiffs in litigation
over the Bi-State Sage-Grouse.

A U.S. district court on May 15, 2018 ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2015 wrongly denied Endangered Species Act protection for the bi-state sage grouse, which lives in parts of California and Nevada.  In 2013 the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the bi-state sage grouse “distinct population segment” as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, citing threats including urban sprawl, habitat loss, livestock grazing, invasive species, range fires, mining, energy development, recreation, and climate change.

However, the agency reversed course in 2015 without adequate justification or explanation and found that the bird does not warrant federal protection, purportedly based on a collection of voluntary conservation measures restricted to private lands in the “Bi-state Action Plan,” which was in place since 2012 but the sage grouse continued to decline.

After a lawsuit by Desert Survivors, the Center For Biological Diversity and other conservation groups, the court  found that the 2015 decision wrongly relied on conservation measures that were not certain to be effective. In addition, the court found that the Service’s policy regarding whether a species is threatened or endangered in a “significant portion of the range” was based on an impermissible interpretation of “significance” and was wrongly applied to the bi-state sage grouse because the Service failed to support its conclusions that the potential loss of sub-populations would not be significant.

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During the summer the deserts in the lower elevations and latitudes are too hot to visit comfortably or safely.  During the season Desert Survivors heads north and to high altitudes.  In June Dave Oline will lead a backpack to the Buffalo Hills Wilderness Study Area in northern Nevada.  Expect to see mule deer, antelope, wild horses, and hopefully flowers.  Later in the month we will raft down the Yampa River in Utah (several spaces are still available for this trip.)  On a July weekend we will venture to Mono Lake to explore its shore and then to climb nearby Glass Mountain where you will see more obsidian than you ever thought imaginable.  In August Barb Bane leads a return trip to the University of California Crooked Creek Research Lab at 10,200 feet in the White Mountains.  If you like to backpack in remote parts of the world, the Labor Day weekend trip "Skywalking the Abert Rim" in Oregon is for you.  In addition to these excursions Desert Survivors will hold our annual summer picnic in Castro Valley, CA and a trip leaders seminar in Oakland. There is much to do this summer and we want you to be with us for these excursions and events. 

For more information please go to our TRIPS PAGE.

Desert Survivors as a public service. Desert Survivors is a 501(c)3 non-profit public-benefit organization based in Oakland, California. More than  95% of our revenue comes from membership dues and donations. We have no corporate sponsors. You can support our work by becoming a member for $30 per year (or more if you can). Non-member donations are also gratefully accepted. Send checks to Desert Survivors, PO. Box 20991, Oakland, CA 94620-0991. All donations are tax-deductible. To pay with a credit card, click here for membership, or here for donation 1995 - 2018 All Rights Reserved. Desert Survivors.