[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
97°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 16
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]


Commentary by Linda Castro
| Thursday, Jan 14, 2016
desert01

LindaCastroNumerous Santa Clarita Valley residents travel to Death Valley National Park each year by way of Highway 190, which intersects with Highway 395 in Olancha. While on their way to the park, they drive past an area named Lower Centennial Flat. As they drive by, they might look out of their vehicle window and think they are looking at a barren wasteland, but they just are not looking close enough.

Lower Centennial Flat, located south of Highway 190 between Olancha and Panamint Springs, might not look like much when one drives by, but it is a special place. Not much larger than about 9 square miles, Lower Centennial Flat is home to more than 45 different species of plants and animals including the threatened Mohave ground squirrel, Costa’s hummingbird and the Death Valley sandpaper-plant. Most importantly, the area holds a dense forest of Joshua trees.

The area has many large Joshua trees and is a “nursery” for numerous young Joshua trees. Scientists started seeing these young Joshua trees more frequently in the past 15 to 20 years, and they believe the species is moving to higher elevations – such as what Lower Centennial Flat has to offer – as the climate warms. As such, the area will likely be critically important to the survival of the species with global warming.

The primary reason for the abundance of life is Black Springs. There are two springs at the site that support the area’s wildlife – one high on the west side of the canyon and the other in the bottom of the canyon.

desert02The area is also culturally significant. It is important ancestral land for the Paiute and Shoshone tribes. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe currently owns 640 acres in the Lower Centennial Flat area. The Bureau of Land Management, which manages all but the tribal lands in the region, has recorded 82 archaeological sites in the area. Nearly 95 percent of them were prehistoric sites containing bedrock metates and mortar pits, rock art panels and other evidence of prehistoric life. The remaining sites relate to much more recent history – the mining era of the 19th Century.

Finally, there is a “hidden” pop culture treasure in the area. In 1987, the rock band U2 released their album, “Joshua Tree.” The Joshua tree they used for the album was photographed in the Lower Centennial Flat area. When people discovered this fact, they began to travel to that location from all over the country and the world to visit the tree.

The tree has since died, but the site remains. People continue to visit, leaving wooden and ceramic plaques, guitars, U2 albums (in the metal suitcase also located at the site), and numerous other items. The site is marked with a concrete and bronze plaque that asks, “Have you found what you’re looking for?”

Lower Centennial Flat, like so many other areas in the Mojave Desert, offers much more than what you can see while driving by on the highway. The lesson: Get out of your car and experience the desert up close. You will be glad you did.

 

Linda Castro is a nature enthusiast and animal lover.  She is the Desert Field Organizer for the California Wilderness Coalition and serves on the board of the SCV-based Community Hiking Club.  Her commentaries relate to California’s deserts.

 

 

desert03

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Saxtravaganza, Santa Clarita's all-saxophone chamber ensemble, will play a free concert at Hart Hall (inside Hart Park) on Thursday, July 19, starting at 7 p.m.
July 19: Saxtravaganza Chamber Ensemble Returns to Hart Hall
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will participate in the semi-annual Pinewood Derby at the Newhall Clubhouse on Wednesday, July 18 starting at 4:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Boys & Girls Club Pinewood Derby
The city of Santa Clarita's Community Preservation Division sent a notice of violation Monday to the owners of the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates property in Canyon Country, ordering the removal of multiple solar panels installed on the hillside just north of the park.
Canyon Country Mobile Home Park Cited for Hillside Solar Panels
Ingrid Moon, a sixth-grade science facilitator at tuition-free public charter school iLEAD Encino, and Kimberli Lengning, a facilitator at iLEAD Lancaster, have been named Distinguished STEM Educators by Columbia University.
iLEAD Science Facilitators Named Distinguished STEM Educators
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of July 16-22, 2018.
‘Mayans,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ Spots, Student Films Now Shooting in SCV
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.
First West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found – Panorama City
Air quality is very unhealthy for all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley Monday, according to an alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD: Air Quality Very Unhealthy Monday for SCV Residents
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man with an outstanding warrant who was allegedly also in possession of drugs in Stevenson Ranch early Saturday morning.
Golden Valley High School grad U.S. Air Force Airman Victoria A. Arguello has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Clarita USAF Airman Victoria Arguello Graduates Basic Training
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
July 14-15: CTG Stars Teen Workshop Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical Jr.’
The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19: Open House, Summer Fun Event for Kids at Hart Museum
College of the Canyons will accept an additional 500 students to its First-Year Promise program for the fall 2018 semester, an expansion made possible by funding from a new state program called California College Promise.
COC to Accept 500 More First-Year Promise Students
The city of Santa Clarita invites residents to explore the newest exhibit at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Art Space -- “Urban Objects” by artist Aaron Kramer, on display now through October 2.
‘Urban Objects’ by Aaron Kramer on Display at Town Center Art Space
Bank of Santa Clarita announced Friday that for the second quarter of 2018, earnings again reached record levels, as net earnings totaled $867,000, a 91 percent growth over its earnings for the second quarter of 2017.
Bank of Santa Clarita’s Earnings Continue to Grow Significantly
Los Angeles County voters may soon be asked to vote on a new "parcel" tax to be levied on private property owners' "impenetrable areas" -- everything from rooftops to driveways -- to help pay for the capture of recyclable stormwater runoff.
Supes Float New Tax on Roofs, Driveways, Patios
In an effort to keep property crime in the Santa Clarita Valley low and help residents protect their valuables, the city of Santa Clarita and the SCV Sheriff’s Station have partnered to bring a new public safety campaign to the city called 'The Stolen Collection.'
Don’t Let Your Items Become Part of ‘The Stolen Collection’
The California Air Resources Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have approved emissions modifications for the last remaining Volkswagen vehicles containing undisclosed software which deliberately shut down emission control equipment.
CARB, EPA OK Final VW Diesel Modification to Kill Illegal ‘Defeat Devices’
Vince Fernandez cranked a three-run homer to give the Lancaster JetHawks a lead, but the bullpen and defense couldn’t hold on in an 8-4 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Thursday night at LoanMart Field.
Series Finale Slips Away from JetHawks
A coalition of 13 Attorneys General including California's, along with the California Air Resources Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, submitted a letter to the U.S. EPA Friday demanding the immediate reinstatement of the Glider Rule for high-polluting trucks.
AG’s Demand EPA Reinstate ‘Glider Rule’ for High-Polluting Trucks
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, July 17, starting at 9:30 a.m.
July 17: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Santa Clarita Valley International, a free public charter school serving learners in grades TK through 12, has welcomed veteran educator Farnaz Kaufman as its new School Director, and she will welcome visitors on SCVi’s Prospective Family Night on Thursday, July 19.
July 19: SCVi Open House, Meetup with New Director
1884 - Hardison & Stewart start drilling Star No. 1 oil well in Pico Canyon; later form Union Oil Co. [story]
The Valencia Jazz & Blues Summer Concert Series continues Friday, July 13, with Jim Gibson.
July 13: Jim Gibson Takes Stage at Valencia Jazz & Blues Series
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation presents its latest Recreation After Dark at William S. Hart Regional Park in Newhall with an evening showcase of music and dance featuring the Sue Rey and the Runarounds.
July 28: Sue Rey & the Runarounds at Hart Park
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The JetHawks turned Rancho Cucamonga’s historic 15-game win streak into history with a 6-2 win over the Quakes on Wednesday night at LoanMart Field. The streak was the longest in the franchise’s history.
JetHawks End Quakes 15-Game Winning Streak
The city of Santa Clarita has been, and continues to be, committed to helping those experiencing homelessness in our community.
City Invites Community to Review Draft of Plan to Address Homelessness
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Saturday, July 14, in the city of Santa Clarita in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.
July 14: LASD Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation
A Light of Hope is excited to announce a new partner with New Global Adventures, who will bring their event expertise to organize and host the 5th annual Be The Light 5K/10K fundraiser on Sept. 29.
Sept. 29: Be the Light 5K, 10K Night Run/Walk
Two notable judges were selected for the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) Art Classic Gala to be held on Sept. 29, from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Hart Hall at the historic Hart Park in Newhall. A free public viewing is on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Santa Clarita Artists Association Selects Judges for September Gala
The Valley Industry Association will be holding a luncheon, Tuesday, July 17, at 11:45 a.m. at the Valencia Country Club, located at 27330 No. Tourney Road, 91355.
July 17: VIA Luncheon to Discuss Whittaker-Bermite
The Dodgers' versatile home run leader Max Muncy has powered his way into the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Dodgers’ Muncy Powers Way into Home Run Derby; Stripling Named NL All-Star
Their gift is their song and this one's for you, when Kenny Metcalf as Elton & The Early Years Band presents the ultimate Elton John tribute show as part of Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union.
July 14: Concerts in the Park Continue with Elton John Tribute Band