5,000 acre housing development proposal threatens Joshua Tree National Park plant and wildlife, cultural sites and dark night skies
Joshua Tree, CA – This week, Riverside County’s Planning Commission released its final Environmental Impact Report for the highly controversial Paradise Valley project, a long-proposed large housing tract on the southern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. Impacts include the urbanization of 5,000 acres of intact desert wildlife habitat adjoining Joshua Tree National Park. National Parks Conservation Association opposes the massive development proposal, for the serious and lasting damage it would cause to desert animals, rare native plants, Native cultural sites and the views and dark night skies that attract millions of visitors a year to Joshua Tree National Park.
Paradise Valley would spell trouble for Joshua Tree National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the nation, reducing wilderness experiences including night sky and natural quiet, increasing noise pollution and the frequency of vehicular trespass into closed areas of the park and increasing threats to the ecosystem from introduction of exotic plant and animal species.
The project, by Glorious Land Company, would build approximately 8,500 residences and 1.4 million square feet of commercial and industrial development on what is now an essentially wild landscape that serves as an important migration corridor for desert wildlife. The proposed project would also result in leapfrog development, further worsening Riverside County’s urban sprawl and increasing congestion along Interstate 10.
The Paradise Valley development would also block crucial migration corridors for bighorn sheep, deer, and the Endangered Sonoran pronghorn slated for reintroduction south of the area.
Statement by Chris Clarke, California Desert Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association:
“In study after study, visitors say it’s the open, unspoiled desert vistas that bring them to Joshua Tree, Southern California’s most popular National Park. Visitors don’t come to see suburbs. Not only would the Paradise Valley project hurt Joshua Tree’s wildlife, vistas, and spectacular night skies, but it would also undermine the region’s tourism-based economy.
“The doorstep to our beloved desert national park deserves better than to become a magnet for suburban development. Our parks offer unique experiences that visitors can’t have anywhere else in the world. It would be a tragedy to replace those experiences with one more strip-mall-based suburban development.”
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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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