Unfortunately, and despite the collective’s best efforts, wildlife is still being struck and killed on Highway 62. When I interviewed Nicole for this story, she shared that she and some residents had just removed a dead bear cub from the side of the road up the street from her store. It was simultaneously saddening and infuriating, impacting her deeply.
Conservati on legend and resident naturalist at the 29 Palms Inn, Pat Flanagan, shared that the attention being generated by Nicole and group is part of a larger and smaller – story. Much work has been done on studying and preserving wildlife corridors throughout the Mojave Desert and surrounding regions for decades, work Pat and others in the conservation community have been an integral part of completing. And though the big critters like the bears and deer are most definitely negatively impacted by the heavier traffic in the area, she cautions us not to forget about their smaller counterparts – the rabbits and other small
rodents, the lizards and snakes, the birds, and even the insects. “There are certainly many daily deaths of the smaller desert creatures that go completely unnoticed.”
Though positive changes have been made on this local issue, there is more work to be done. Nicole plans to keep educating people about which wildlife is found in Morongo Valley. Others in the group have contacted Caltrans and advocated to reduce the speed limits through the main stretch in town. The process has been started to effect this change, and though the speed can only be lowered 5 miles per hour, Nicole says she is still happy with any progress that can be made in that area. “Hopefully if we just keep the awareness factor going and can lower the speed limit a little bit, people will slow down and realize what they are actually driving through is not some sleepy little town, it’s a wildlife corridor.”
Want to help? Here are some steps to follow –
1. Educate yourself about the wildlife corridors and wildlife in the Morongo Basin
2. Share this messaging with 5 friends, and ask them to share with 5 friends as well
3. Support Nicole and her neighbors in their work
4. SLOW DOWN while driving on Highway 62 (and all desert roads) and watch out for the wildlife!
To learn more about wildlife corridors in the Morongo Basin, follow this link to the Morongo Basin Conservation Priorities Report on the Morongo Basin Conservation Association website.
To learn more about Nicole Holland and her crew at Cactus Mart, follow this link to their website.
Photo Cred: Nicole Holland