Historic Agreement Between Joshua Tree National Park and Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians

By Jennifer Albrinck,
Courtesy of Joshua Tree National Park

JTNP Superintendent David Smith and Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike. Photo courtesy of 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians.

Joshua Tree National Park is honored to announce a new agreement with the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians (TPBMI) formally signed today at a ceremony at the Tribal headquarters in Coachella, Calif. This agreement allows for continued cooperation and a path toward shared stewardship of park resources. The signing formalizes an important historic relationship, strengthening the park’s ongoing commitment to the shared stewardship of land and resources.

“The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and Joshua Tree National Park have a long, extensive history of working together to protect sacred sites and interpret the history of the first people in this area,” said Superintendent David Smith. “This agreement is just the next step in a journey where we continue to collaborate to protect the park’s resources and honor the history of the people who helped shape this cultural landscape.”

Through this unprecedented agreement, the park and the TPBMI government have identified several critical areas for collaboration:

Trail development: The Tribe and the park will coordinate opportunities to establish trails originating on Tribal land to connect to established trails on NPS land. Coordination would include planning and technical guidance on implementation and management of the trails on Tribal land.
Mutual aid to support law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue: The park’s chief law enforcement ranger will work with the director of Tribal law enforcement on appropriate emergency mutual aid in areas such as law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue.
Continue joint planning on educational and interpretive activities: The Tribe and the park will collaborate on educational activities both inside the park and on Tribal lands. This could include exhibits, web and social media, and other digital media planning, as well as a future loan program for the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center in downtown Twentynine Palms.
Other areas of mutual interest, such as the Desert Tortoise Program and a future transportation program, are addressed in this agreement as well.

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“Our collaboration with Joshua Tree National Park is long-standing and meaningful for the Tribe and visitors to the park,” said Darrell Mike, Chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. “This new alliance is allowing us to collaborate on expanding our existing initiatives with the Joshua Tree National Park. This is sacred land to the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and this historic signing will allow us to expand park services for those who visit and live near the park.”

The National Park Service recently awarded the Tribe a grant for trail planning and design through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program. The proposed trail will provide a loop hike through the park’s northern boundary and back down through Tribal lands.

Joshua Tree National Park is grateful for the opportunity to work with its partners who have inhabited this place for time immemorial.

From Our Partners