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Death Valley Natural History Association November Newsletter

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DVNHA Updates

Death Valley Institute 2024 Programming

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Registration for the 2024 programming at Death Valley Institute is now open, offering a unique opportunity to explore and learn about Death Valley National Park and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Participants can immerse themselves in a range of enriching educational experiences, tailored to deepen their understanding of these remarkable natural landscapes. The program includes guided hikes, allowing attendees to experience the beauty and diversity of the park’s terrain and wildlife firsthand. Additional activities and sessions are designed to cater to a variety of interests, from nature enthusiasts to history buffs. This educational adventure promises to be an unforgettable way to connect with and appreciate the unique ecosystems of Death Valley and Ash Meadows. For a full list of programs, visit the new Death Valley Institute Homepage.

View All Upcoming Programs

Our 2023 Giving Tuesday Campaign

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Support our mission to build a magnificent night sky viewing area in Death Valley National Park by contributing to our $100,000 goal. Your donations are vital for the detailed planning, environmental compliance, and construction of this unique project. This transformation will not only enhance the park’s appeal for stargazers but also provide accessible facilities and ample parking. Each contribution, no matter the size, plays a crucial role in bringing this vision to life. Join us in creating an accessible and awe-inspiring destination for nature lovers and astronomy enthusiasts in Death Valley.

Learn More & Donate

Death Valley NP Updates

Death Valley NP Road Updates

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NPS photo by Nichole Andler. Park Ranger Abby Wines stands in a collapsed section of Daylight Pass on August 22, two days after the flash flood.

Open Paved Roads

CA HWY 190- open all the way through the park. Expect delays and multiple locations with active road work. (Access to: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon Trail, Harmony Borax Works, Zabriskie Point.)

Daylight Pass Road & Mud Canyon Road

Badwater Road- open from the junction with CA 190 to Badwater Basin (mile marker 17). Closed south of Badwater Basin. (Access to: Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch Trails, Desolation Trail, Devils Golfcourse, Natural Bridge Trail, Badwater Basin). Open 8 miles in from the CA 127 entrance near Shoshone, CA (Access to: Greenwater Valley Rd)

Artists Drive

Dantes View Road

Open Unpaved Roads

Mustard Canyon

Twenty Mule Team Road

Grotto Canyon – the road now ends where it used to drop into the wash.

Greenwater Valley (aka Furnace Creek Wash Road) – (Access to: Deadman Pass and Gold Valley.) Use extreme caution on Gold Valley Road, which has not been repaired since it was damaged by flooding 8/23. There is a section which could tip over a stock 4×4 high clearance vehicle.

Tractor-Trailer Carrying Bees Rolled Over on Towne Pass

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On November 5, 2023, a tractor trailer carrying beehives overturned on CA-190 in Death Valley National Park, resulting in bee stings to the driver and several emergency responders. The accident occurred west of Towne Pass as the driver, a 35-year-old man from Las Vegas, lost control on a steep grade, causing the truck to roll over and scatter beehives. Passersby who helped extract the driver also suffered bee stings. The injured driver was first taken to Panamint Springs Resort by ambulance, then airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital. Read the full press release here. 

Traffic Collision Caused by Tarantula

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A tarantula seen elsewhere in Death Valley National Park on the day of the accident. NPS photo by Abby Wines

On October 28, Swiss travelers in Death Valley National Park abruptly stopped their camper van to avoid a tarantula crossing the road, leading to a collision with a Canadian motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was transported to Desert View Hospital by a National Park Service ambulance. The incident, which occurred near Towne Pass, left the tarantula unharmed. National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds, who was first on the scene, emphasized the importance of slow driving in the park due to gravel patches and wildlife. Tarantulas, mostly seen in the fall, are nonaggressive and their bite is comparable to a bee sting. Read the full press release here. 

Ash Meadows NWR Updates

2023 Christmas Bird Count at Ash Meadows NWR

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Phainopepla. CC Rod Colvin

The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Christmas Bird Count for 2023 is set for Thursday, December 28. Bird enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited to participate in this engaging citizen science event. Held within the stunning landscapes of Ash Meadows NWR, this annual count provides a unique opportunity to observe and record the diverse bird species inhabiting this desert oasis. Beginners and experienced birders alike are encouraged to join, making it a perfect occasion for anyone interested in birdwatching and nature. This event not only contributes valuable data for bird conservation but also fosters a community spirit among nature lovers and birders. Participants will have the chance to contribute to a longstanding tradition of bird counting while experiencing the beauty and biodiversity of Ash Meadows firsthand. Sign up for the Ash Meadows NWR count by visiting the Red Rock Audubon website.

Rugged Valley Meets Desert Oasis

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Bighorn sheep on boardwalk. CC Rod Colvin

Visiting Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge alongside Death Valley enriches your experience with a contrasting and unique ecological perspective. Nestled in the Mojave Desert, Ash Meadows is a vibrant oasis of spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands, offering a serene and lush landscape vastly different from Death Valley’s rugged terrain. It is a sanctuary for rare species like the Devils Hole pupfish, highlighting the importance of biodiversity and conservation. This tranquil refuge, with its crystal-clear springs and lush plant life, provides a peaceful complement to the stark beauty of Death Valley. Together, these two destinations present a fuller picture of the region’s diverse natural wonders and ecological importance.

Read more about Ash Meadows by visiting our Ash Meadows NWR Trip Planning webpage!

Explore the Charm of Death Valley NP with Every Sip

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Discover the perfect blend of utility and adventure with our exclusive Death Valley Mug! Ideal for both adventurers and armchair explorers, this mug is your daily reminder of the vast, untamed wonders waiting for you. Grab yours today and let every coffee break inspire your next great journey!

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