Flights with Amargosa Conservancy, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, press and county officials over the Amargosa Basin educated passengers about conservation and Off-Highway Vehical issues in the Dumont Dunes area. The event promoted collaboration between agencies and users to deal with rising use and damage to sensitive resources at the popular OHV area.
The Amargosa Basin represents a vast stretch of desert that creates vital habitat connectivity between Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve. With the passage of the DRECP the majority of the California side of the basin is now managed with an emphasis on conservation, but there are still areas that need focus.
The Amargosa Basin is home to important cultural and natural resources. The area contains historic foot paths of the Shoshone and Paiute, wagon routes of the Mormon Trail, old railroad beds and mining roads, and today offers off-road recreation routes. The basin hosts migrating birds and the natural springs provide habitat for rare species of wildlife - not the least of which is the endangered Amargosa vole, with a range of only five square miles, making it the most endangered mammal in the country.
Increasing visitation and use are putting more pressures on the landscape and threatening to leave lasting impacts. The Dumont Dunes Open Area has been kept relatively pristine by being relatively unknown. The area has recently become a destination for OHV users, where crowds can reach over 40,000 visitors on a long weekend. With so many people, it is imperative for visitors to be educated on proper use and for land managers to have a set of clear, enforceable regulations to protect fragile desert ecosystems.