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Joshua Tree National Park - Joshua Tree Guide

Temporary Phenomenon

As old as the desert may look, it is but a temporary phenomenon in the incomprehensible time-scale of geology. During the Pleistocene, one of the Southwest's earliest cultures, the Pinto people, lived here, hunting and gathering along a slow-moving river that ran through the now-dry Pinto Basin. Later, other Desert Indian groups traveled through this area in tune with harvests of pinyon pine nuts, mesquite beans, acorns, and cactus fruit, leaving behind rock drawings, paintings and pottery ollas as reminders of their passing. In the 1800s explorers, cattlemen and miners came to the desert. They built dams to create water tanks and dug up and tunneled the earth in search of gold. They are gone now, and left behind are their remnants; the Lost Horse and Desert Queen mines and the Desert Queen Ranch. In the 1930s homesteaders came seeking free land and the chance to start new lives. Today many people come to the park's nearly 800,000 acres of open space seeking the clear skies and clean air, the peace and tranquility, the quietude and beauty that only the deserts offer.




ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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