leaving campus to go to the “Wildlands” check in with
[___________] at the [____________], and let her know of your plans.
possible travel in groups of two or three. Three is preferred. Always
remember to carry either a cell phone or a campus field radio with
you when visiting the river bottom. Field radios can be checked out
from [___________] and/or [___________].
to use the restroom before you leave. Facilities are not available
in the “Wildlands”.
recommended that each “Wildlands” walker carry with them
at least a bottle of water if they plan to spend more than an hour
at the river bottom. All water in the Wildlands is not potable/considered
safe for human consumption.
only maintained trails whenever possible. When you can’t, split
larger parties into groups of 4-6 and only travel on durable surfaces.
- Durable surfaces
include established trails roads, rock, gravel, sandy washes,
or dry grass.
riparian areas by not walking through streams, on erodable stream
banks or streamside vegetation whenever possible.
What You Find
- Do not disturb sites
in which student research or fieldwork is being conducted.
the attached “Wildlands” map, Mr. Huffine, Mrs. Deppe,
Mr. Deppe or Mrs. Gaidzik for more information about current
student study/fieldwork sites.
- Leave rocks, plants
and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing
or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures,
furniture, or dig trenches.
- Preserve the past:
if uncovered during an outing, examine, but do not touch, cultural
or historic structures and artifacts.
- Observe wildlife
from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals.
Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors,
and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife
and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control/leash pets
at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during
sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Be Considerate of
- Respect other visitors
and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield
to other users on the trail.
- Take breaks away
from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds
prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
for Planning and Conducting Group Outings within the Mojave River
a Wildlands Outing:
- Check [___________]’
“Wildlands” use schedule at the [____________] to see if the
area(s) you want to visit will be available for use on the day and
time you are planning a visit. Check for information about seasonal
or area closures .
- Prepare a brief list of
goals and objectives that you wish to meet while on the trip.
- The person(s) planning
the outing is highly recommended to make a trip just prior (24 hours)
to going out into the designated “Wildlands” area that
will be visited. During this trip check for unusual and recent reptile,
bee, mammal or human activity that may put the outings participants
at risk. If any potentially hazardous observations are made during
this “pre-outing check” please inform one of the “Science
Team” members (M. Deppe/ B. Deppe/D. Gaidzik/Huffine/Armstrong/Nyhoff)
about your concerns. It is not a bad idea to check with them prior
to any outing to learn
about known and existing hazards.
- Prepare a list of the
equipment that you will need to accomplish your goals and objectives.
Plan to bring bag for picking up trash during your outing. These can
be checked out from Mr. Huffine at the "Science Room A132"
patio of building A.
- Prepare a list of the
things that participants will need to bring or wear during the trip
(i.e. hat, special shoes, sunscreen, water, snacks, field notebook,
pencil, back pack, special clothing, special medication with specific
instruction for use, etc.)
- At least 24 hours before
a planned and scheduled outing, inform all participants about the
goals and objectives of the trip, the items they will need to bring
or wear, and the specifics about when and where the travel party will
be meeting. Use this time as well to review “Wildlands Etiquette”.
If the activity will require parental permission, provide the permission
slip/waiver form(s) to the eligible participants at least 3 days before
- Ask student to try and
not wear “loud colors” and to refrain from wearing perfumes
or body scents as these may disturb and even scare away wildlife.
They should also be asked to refrain from bringing food items or sodas.
If drinks are to be carried into the “Wildlands” these
should be restricted to water bottles.
- Before leaving the classroom
make sure all students understand the days goals and objectives for
visiting the Wildlands.
- Ask students about any
special need (allergies, early pick-up, medications etc.) or make a
list at the beginning of the quarter and check to see if you/they are
prepared for any hazards or emergencies that might arise.
- Check to see if another
group is already in the Wildlands. If so, try to schedule your trip
to avoid times of high use.
- Obtain an instructors backpack
from the science lab and check for:
- First aid kit, binoculars,
emergency bee/snake bite kit, sunscreen.
- Check-out any field
guides that might needed from Matt Huffine
- Get a laminated copy
of the existing points of access and usable trails. Please stay
on the existing trails and out of the areas designated as “Wildlands
- Make sure you have a cell
phone or get a field radio from [___________] at the [____________].
Be sure to get instruction on how to contact and communicate with
the MCR base station. The office phone number is 946-5414 (useful
phone extensions include 271 (Mrs.Casella), 280 (Science Lab, room
238 Mr. Huffine's office.
- Group participants are
expected to arrive at the west facing patio of Building A at least 15
minutes prior to the beginning of the outing and check / sign-in.
- Let [___________] know about
outing plans while submitting a class list for her to use if a parent
calls and has to either contact their student or take them off-campus.
- Please make sure members
of the travel party have used the restroom before leaving. At the date
of this printing, restroom or portable facilities are not available
in the “Mojave River Wildlands”.
- Make sure all participants
are wearing appropriate clothing and have the supplies needed for the
outing. Make sure all participants are wearing work clothes and shoes
appropriate for the activity and the weather. Outings are often led
rain or shine. Click here
for the current weather.
- Participants may be expected
to stay in the “Wildlands” for up to 2.5 hours at a time
and should plan accordingly. Participants should not expect to be able
to walk back to the campus and return during an outing on their own
when they want to.
- Make a nose count of all
participants before leaving the Building A patio.
- Encourage all group participants
to be sensitive to their own safety and the safety of others, making
sure they are warned not to run or otherwise behave recklessly at any
time during an outing.
- It is possible for outing
participants to be left behind during “Wildlands” walks.
Therefore, all participants are to walk and work in teams of three called
triads. In the case of an emergency in which one member in a triad,
for example, sprains an ankle, the second member will stay and lends
immediate assistance, while the third member goes ahead and contacts
the instructor or outing leader.
- Acceptable gender groupings
within triads include three females, two females and one male, or
- Designate an outing
group member that will stay at the head of the group that will maintain
a steady pace, and one for the rear of the group that will make
sure no one is left behind and who can gently speed up slower members
q In popular areas
- Concentrate use on
- Walk single file in
the middle of the trail even when wet or muddy.
- Focus activities in
areas where vegetation is absent.
- Follow the project/activity/outing
guidelines. Do not disturb wildlife or pick or destroy plants if
not instructed to do so. Upon Arrival at the Outing Destination(s)
- Have participants assemble
into their “triads” and do a nose count of all participants
to make sure no one was left behind on the walk in.
- When working near or
around designated Wildlands Wilderness areas:
- Disperse use to prevent
the creation of a permanent work areas or trails.
- Avoid places where
impacts are just beginning.Upon Leaving the Outing Destination(s)q
Walk it in, walk it out. Inspect your work site or destination
and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash,
leftover food, and litter. Use the reusable handbag.
- Have participants
assemble into their “triads” and do a nose count
of all participants to make sure no one will be left behind.
- Have participants
scour the surrounding areas during the walk back for trash;
use reusable handbag for disposal upon return to the west "Science
Room" patio of Building A. Remind all participants to
exercise caution when attempting to pick up soiled, sharp
or heavy items. Upon
arriving back to the campus have participants assemble into
their “triads” and do a nose count of all participants
to make sure no one was left behind on the walk out.
- Check in with [___________] and return the field radio. Check for any messages directed
to any of the returning groups participants.
- Return any materials
(back pack, reusable trash bag, field guides, etc.) to the individual
that they were borrowed from.
- Debrief all participants
concerning the trip highlights, and bring closure to any lessons
learned during the outing.
- Report to any member
of the Science Team (M. Deppe/ B. Deppe/D. Gaidzik/Huffine/Armstrong/Nyhoff)
any potentially hazardous situation that was observed during
the outing. If the issue is vagrancy and or present overt
inform Mr. Soholt of the situation ASAP or call in the situation
from the field using a cell phone or field radio.
of Prey: The
presence of raptors, such as peregrine and prairie falcons, eagles, and
many hawks and owls, are indicators of the health of any ecosystem. Avoid
nesting sites on or near the Mojave Narrows Outcrops in the spring and
early summer. Watch the birds as they circle and land near their nests
to identify places to avoid. If you encounter nests while walking or climbing,
don't touch them. Human contact may cause the adults to abandon the nest
and its eggs or young. Adhere to seasonal closures; you can always find
another place in the Wildlands to explore.
Work and Travel on
Durable Surfaces Some of the “Wildlands” areas may
lie above steep slopes that can be easily eroded, in fragile desert scrub
or along riparian zones with fragile vegetation. With an increase in the
number of visitors that the Mojave River Campus will undoubtedly attract
to the Mojave River Narrows Wildlands, random access creates serious erosion
and trampling problems. Please read and abide by the following Wildlands
At remote wilderness
locations that show little or no obvious impact, try to keep it that way.
Where no trails exist, spread out on durable ground, such as rock, or
gravel to avoid creating new paths. Avoid fragile areas, such as steep
hillsides or the black, castle-like cryptogram that's found in some desert
scrub locations. Making approach routes with cairns or flagging takes
away the thrill and challenge of route finding people seek in these remote
At access areas
that see frequent traffic, the natural impulse is to make a beeline up
through the brush or rocky outcrops to the desired area. Instead, take
a moment longer to seek out and follow established paths and trails. A
few footsteps off the trail may cause significant damage to the vegetation
and attract further trampling and erosion, so remaining on existing paths
is crucial. Try not to use trails that have been closed and respect rehabilitation
sites carefully. Work in existing areas designated on your Wildlands map
as “outing work areas”, if possible, to center your activities
on already barren areas. If no established sites exist, try to choose
work site at least 25-50 feet from water on durable ground. Consider sites
where either the vegetation is very resilient, (e.g. grasses), or the
ground is bare (e.g. rock, gravel or sand). Avoid working and congregating
on delicate flowers and woody ground covers as they are easily crushed.Try
not to "improve" destinations by moving things around. If you
move a few rocks to make a flat place to sit or work, put 'em back before
seasons and after rains, soft trails and roads are easily rutted and damaged,
accelerating erosion during future runoff. Consider postponing your trip
or choosing a different route to avoid the muddiest days. Keep four wheel-drive
vehicles and mountain bikes on routes designated for such Wildlands’
access. Driving your vehicle off established routes in a pristine spot
will leave a path that may tempt others to do the same. Use only established
routes and parking sites instead.
How to Spread Out
Use and Impact in Pristine Areas There may be situations
when you are forced to select a work site above the high water line or
where no one has worked before: a "pristine" site.
ground for these work sites. This is the most important consideration
in determining where to set up equipment or tables on pristine sites.Non-vegetated
areas such as slickrock, rock outcrops, gravel bars and sand beaches are
the best. Forest duff is reasonably resistant for one day's use, but avoid
crushing plants or seedlings, as forest floor vegetation is fragile. Grassy
areas and dry meadows can also make good pristine work sites. They are
quite resistant and capable of recovering rapidly from the effects of
one or two days of minimum-impact use. When deciding whether to work in
a meadow, consider your potential impact on wildlife.
the number of times any site is used.
Spread out student teams (triads), avoid repetitive traffic routes and
move work sites often. Wear soft-soled shoes when possible, and watch
where you walk to avoid crushing vegetation. Take alternate paths when
you enter and leave the work area to reduce impact. Move and work in an
area as if a predator was tracking you.Try
to leave no trace or trail pointing to your presence.
riparian areas. The riparian zone is the fragile, green area along
the banks of the river or any side streams. Wildlife depends on the riparian
zone for food, water, cover and shelter. The riparian area is also a natural
travel route for migratory birds and animals. If you can't camp on a sand
beach or in an established site, a good rule of thumb is to work at least
25 feet from the river, and 50 feet (approximately 18 adult steps) from
side streams and springs. This will help protect the fragile Mojave River
the work site when leaving. Covering scuffed up areas with native
materials, such as dried leaves, brushing out footprints, and raking matted
grassy areas with a stick will help the site recover. This extra effort
also helps hide any indication that your group has worked there, and makes
it less likely that other Wildlands travelers will work in the same spot.
When leaving site, make sure it is clean. Pick up all litter and food
scraps-leave only footprints.
Pristine Work Sites or Destinations Where Impact is Just Beginning
Most pristine work sites or destinations located above the high water
line can withstand some use and still recover. However, a threshold is
eventually reached where vegetation cannot grow fast enough to keep pace
with the trampling that occurs, and areas of bare ground are created.
Once this occurs, the site will expand rapidly and deteriorate with continued
use. This turning point for a particular site is affected by many variables
including climate, soil type, vegetation, elevation and aspect. For some
dryer location along the Mojave River, this level of use may be as little
as one or two visits a season.Avoid non-designated, pristine sites that
show slight signs of use.
work sites that show slight use are best left alone. With time and
rest, these work sites may revert back to their natural appearance. Unfortunately,
the effects of continued trampling on these sites often encourages growth
of non-native and noxious weeds that provide poor forage for wildlife.
It often takes active revegetation efforts to regrow native plants, a
time-consuming and expensive process. If you see such areas while in the
field, mark the area on your “Wildlands” map and get the
information to one of the Science Team members (M. Deppe/ B. Deppe/D.
and walking only on durable surfaces in remote areas and staying in well-established
work sites in popular areas, it is possible to minimize changes to the
landscape and prevent the proliferation of unnecessary work sites.
Working Along the Mojave River Bottom River
corridors are narrow strips of land and water where there is little room
to disperse human impacts. Each season hundreds of people visit, play
along, and travel the same magnificent but fragile desert corridor created
by the Mojave River. At the present time use along the Mojave River corridor
is largely unregulated above and below the Mojave Narrow River Wildlands
managed by the LCER/AAE/MRC.
Potential hazards do exist. Due to the proximity of the rail
lines (western boundry), switching yards and train station (through the
“Narrows” and down river - north – about one mile),
the perennial water source, and the tall trees and closed canopy, in the
river bottom, vagrants find the Wildlands an attractive place to camp.
Please be aware of this potentiality and report any “camp”
sighting to Mr. Soholt and Mr. Huffine ASAP. This
area is also prime habitat for encroaching swarms of European and Africanize
honeybees. Snakes also stalk small fish, amphibian, rodents, and insects
in and along the wet riparian margins. Practice cautions and be observant
when walking along the river bottom. Use established sites and beaches
a work site. Selecting an appropriate work site for use as an outdoor
classroom is an important aspect of minimum-impact river use. Generally
it is best to work on beaches, sandbars or non-vegetated sites below the
high waterline. These areas are the most resistant to impact, and when
the river floods, signs of your stay will be washed away. Be aware that
the Mojave River is a dam-controlled river in a flashflood prone watershed;
therefore, high water lines may change daily, and that heavy rainstorms
or snowmelt can cause water levels to rise rapidly and unexpectedly. Watch
the river!When it's not possible to work on beaches or sandbars due to
high or changing water levels, work at sites that are well established
above the high water line. These areas can be found along the Apple Valley
wash that paralles the eastern wash access trail below “Cottonwood
Camp Staging Area”, and are obvious because they have already lost
their vegetation cover. Further careful use of these areas will cause
very little additional impact.
equipment on areas that are already hardened by use. Never pull out
vegetation or break off tree limbs for more comfortable working spots:
this changes the natural look of an area. If you have to move rocks or
downed logs, put them back where you found them.
a common eating spot. Just like in your home, this location is the
spot where people tend to congregate. On riverside outings, this area
will receive the most impact. Try to put your group eating area in the
most resistant location possible. A large sandy beach is best –
they are highly resistant to impact. When
leaving your eating and work areas make sure they are clean. Pick up all
litter and food scraps so these sites are attractive to the next visitors.
Large “lunch” blankets or tarps make cleanup easy.
new trails. In any work area, especially with large groups, traffic
between the groups can quickly cause trails to form. Stay on already-established
trails, even if it means going a bit out of your way. It only takes a
few people traveling a new route through vegetation to create a noticeable
path. The objective is to confine impact to places that already show use
and avoid enlarging areas of disturbance.
ABCD’s of a Safe “Wildlands” Experience
- Always check
in with [___________] and Matthew Huffine before doing the advanced planning
for any wildlands event.
- Always walk
through the area(s) in the “wildlands” that you anticipate
visiting in advance (at least 24 hours before your visit).
- Assess any
allergy/allergic condition(s) of the participants in your group before
leaving on an outing. Make sure that you have permission from a parent/or
guardian for each minor inattendance.
- Always be alert
to any change in weather, student or animal behavior during the outing
and act according to the best interests of all concerned.
- Be prepared
for your “Wildlands” outing by bringing the suggested items
(an instructors backpack containing a first aid kit, binoculars, emergency
bee/snake bite kit, sunscreen, reusable trash bag, field guides (if
needed) a laminated copy of the existing points of access and usable
trails a field radio or personal cell phone ).
- Brief your
class about bees, bites, boundaries and blocks (closed toe shoes,hats,
long pants (when needed) sun block)
- Use caution
& care when planning and conducting your outing,
Check-in with [___________] ahead of time to get your outing on her “wildlands
- Carry a Communication
device (cell phone or campus field radio)
- Debrief the
outing with your staff, parent and student participants for +’s
- Describe any
dangerous situation to Mr. Soholt and Mr. Huffine
- Drop-off or
deliver all the item barrowed (i.e. backpack, science equipment, radio,
maps) to either [___________], [___________] or Matthew Huffine when you
a finished with them.