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Thousand Palms Oasis

in the 

Coachella Valley Preserve

***

 

 

Conservation Significance

The Coachella Valley Preserve (CV Preserve) System (see “Coachella Valley Preserve System” below) was designed to protect an endemic, threatened reptile, the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata).  This lizard is found on the sand dunes that are located on the southern edge of the CV Preserve.  The CNLM Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve (TP Preserve) is a part of the CV Preserve, and primarily protects Thousand Palms Canyon, part of the alluvial system that feeds the sand dunes of the CV Preserve, but also contains a few acres of sand dune habitat.  The Thousand Palms Canyon is a wide canyon that sweeps down from the little San Bernardino Mountains, through a gap in the Indio Hills, and washes onto the wide alluvial fan that borders the north edge of Palm Desert. Rainfall in the upper reaches of the hills moves rock, sand, and soil in torrential flash floods from the mountains and the Indio Hills onto the vast floodplain at the foot of the Indio Hills.  From there fierce desert winds pick up the lightest of the soil particles, and carry them southeast along the valley floor.  As wind speeds slow, the particles drop onto the desert floor, creating sweeping dunes of glittering sand. These are protected dunes. Only a fragment of the once-abundant dunes remain. In addition, the canyon contains a large, rare desert wetland and two palm oases containing the only palm tree native to California, the California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera).  Many rare and listed species use these habitats:  A California species of special concern, the western yellow bat, (Lasiurus xanthinus) flits and twitters in the palm oases; the Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni) (an endangered species) soars over the valley floor in migration between their breeding and wintering territories; a US Forest Service special animal, the Rosy boa (Lichanura orcutti), slithers in the shadows of the palms, and the Federally endangered Coachella Valley milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae) can be found tucked into desert dunes in the spring. Preserve staff is also working to reintroduce the endangered desert fish the Desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius) to Simone Pond.

 

Coachella Valley Preserve System

The Coachella Valley Preserve is actually a system of preserves. It is and has been a model of cooperation between federal, state, and private conservation efforts for managing sensitive natural areas. It is comprised of three separate Units set aside for conservation in a landmark Habitat Conservation Plan signed in 1986.  These are the Whitewater Floodplain Unit, the Edom Hill/Willow Hole Unit and the Thousand Palms Unit. The Whitewater Floodplain Unit is primarily managed by the Coachella Valley Water District, and the Edom Hill Unit is managed by the BLM and Coachella Valley Association of Governments. For information on these two units, please contact those agencies.

CNLM owns the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve which is the heart of the Thousand Palms Preserve Unit of the Coachella Valley Preserve. This Preserve contains the Thousand Palms and McCallum Oases. The Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is also often referred to as the Coachella Valley Preserve—which can create confusion because it is only part of the CV Preserve. The extensive trail system that goes across the entire CV Preserve System starts here in the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve.  CNLM staff coordinates the management of the trail system on the Preserve.

The other major land owners within the Thousand Palms Unit of the Coachella Valley Preserve System are the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The BLM portion of the CV Preserve System has been designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).  These are areas where special management attention is needed to protect important historical, cultural, and scenic values, or fish and wildlife or other natural resources.  There are no approved camping areas, nor are there any approved off-road vehicle access areas anywhere on the Preserve and we ask the public to stay on approved trails. For specific information about camping and off-road vehicle opportunities in the region, contact the local BLM office: https://www.blm.gov/office/palm-springs-south-coast-field-office.

The USFWS’s Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge makes up the lower third of the CV Preserve/Thousand Palms Unit. This refuge is closed to public entry to protect the federally endangered Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard: https://www.fws.gov/saltonsea/coachella/cv_index.html.

CDFW has declared their portion of the CV Preserve/Thousand Palms Unit an Ecological Reserve. Hunting and fishing are not allowed on this land. CDFW owns land containing sand dunes and sand fields in the southern portion of the CV Preserve/Thousand Palms Unit. For information on lands open to fishing and/or hunting, contact CDFW at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was one of the major forces behind the formation of the Coachella Valley Preserve System. TNC transferred ownership of the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve to the CNLM in 2013.

Our Work

CNLM’s objective is to manage and protect the desert wetlands which are the focal ecosystem of this Preserve.  The hydrologic and fluvial processes that occur in the wash are crucial for the protection and creation of the sand dune habitat that occurs at the base of the Indio Hills on the south side of the Coachella Valley Preserve System.  In addition, the oases serve as important migration stopovers for migrating birds, residence for bats, as well as an important resource for the desert animals in the hot, arid summers.  One of the biggest threats and CNLM’s goals include control of invasive species like tamarisk species (Tamarix aphylla and Tamarix ramosissima).  These plants can clog and damage fluvial systems and can spread widely and quickly.

 

 

PUBLIC ACCESS SUMMER HOURS MAY 1-SEPT. 30

FRIDAY through SUNDAY 7 am to 7 pm.

The Preserve is closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This means no public access to the Thousand Palms Oasis or its trails during these days.

We do not have different holiday hours. If a holiday falls on a Friday through Sunday, the preserve trails will be open. If it falls on a Monday through Thursday the Preserve is closed. 

Please note that public accessibility of the Preserve’s trails and facilities may vary depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, required maintenance, special events, or for other reasons. Please visit this webpage prior to visiting the Preserve to be certain of current conditions.

 

 

 

FACILITIES

The Parking lot and Visitors’ Center are closed for the foreseeable future.

Bathrooms are open, but we do have limited facilities. Try to use the facilities in your home or hotel before you come. 

PARKING IS LIMITED AS THE PARKING LOT IS CLOSED. The public can access the trails by walking through the parking lot or from the trail across from the Pushawalla Trailhead.

TRAILS

The McCallum Trail, Moon Country, Smoke Tree and Herman’s Hike are open ONLY during the above business hours. They are closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Herman’s Hike is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

The following trails are adjacent to the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve and may be accessed by the trailheads on Thousand Palms Canyon Road and may be enjoyed all week: Pushawalla, Hidden Palms, Indian Palms and WiIllis Palms.

Simone Pond remains closed for the foreseeable future.


THIS IS A WILDLIFE AREA AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR DOMESTIC ANIMALS.

DOGS AND OTHER PETS are not allowed on any trail. This exclusion includes therapy or comfort animals. Pets must not be left in vehicles because of the extreme temperatures – which can occur even in winter.

VALID SERVICE DOGS ARE WELCOME. Please keep your animal close to you. Do not allow it to chase, bark or dig. Bring your own clean up bags as we do not provide them.


WHERE TO FIND US: We are located at 29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, Thousand Palms, CA 92276.


GUIDED HIKES AND BIRDWALKS will not be conducted at this time. Look for updates


CONTACT

MAIL: P.O. Box 188, Thousand Palms, CA 92276

email: gshort (a) cnlm (dot) org

Office: 760-343-1234