By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Hi Desert Hispanic and Victor Valley Chambers of Commerce were recently awarded a grant from the Rose Foundation to promote the 25-year anniversary of the signing of the Desert Conservation Act, which established the Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park.
These two billboards were just installed to introduce the Victor Valley as the Gateway to the Mojave National Preserve. These signs are located on Palmdale Road between Amargosa and HWY 395 and I-15 at Joshua Street in Hesperia.
While there may be a tendency for those of us that have spent most of our lives in the Desert to take these beautiful landscapes for granted, it’s important to remember that hundreds of thousands of people travel from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the wonders that lie in the Victor Valley’s backyard.
Far too often protection of our public lands and conservation initiatives are falsely vilified as barriers to growth. Quite the opposite is true. The Mojave National Preserve and other natural desert wonders represent an economic boon to the communities that surround them. The Victor Valley is considered a gateway community to these recreational wonderlands. In 2018 alone, 787,000 visitors spent an estimated $46.5 million in local gateway regions, including the Victor Valley, while visiting just the Mojave National Preserve. This influx supported a total of 588 jobs, $22.2 million in labor income, $36.7 million in value added, and $58.8 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding the Mojave National Preserve.
These numbers are increasing at a rapid clip every year. The economic benefit of desert travel, including visitor spending, industry earnings and government revenue went from $5.5 billion to $7.62 billion in 2018. Travel industry-generated employment in the California desert region has increased by more than 35 percent since 2010 alone, with more than 73,000 employees in 2018.
While Mojave National Preserve may be our crown jewel due to its size, beauty and proximity to our local communities, the Victor Valley is less than a few hours away from countless other national treasures including: The Mojave Trails National Monument, Sand to Snow National Monument, Castle Mountains National Monument, Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park and Sequoia National Park, just to name a few. While the numbers surrounding the Mojave National Preserve speak for themselves, they can safely be multiplied hundreds of times over when considering how many folks visiting these other destinations stop to fill up, eat, play or stay in the Victor Valley leaving no question that conservation is good for our local economy.