Our Desert

The Mojave Desert spans four states: California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. In California, the Mojave is an area of extreme heat and dryness, with annual rainfall ranging from 3.5 inches at lower elevations to nearly 10 inches in the mountains. Most rain falls between November and April with an occasional snow accumulation in the mountains. Natural water sources lie far apart, summer daytime air temperatures can soar to well over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, soil temperatures to well over 150 degrees, and the low-growing plants offer scant shade or comfort.

To some, this may seem like a hostile and empty place, but it’s actually teeming with activity and inhabitants. Many reptiles, mammals, birds, fish and amphibians have adapted and, in fact, thrive in the harsh ecosystems of the Mojave Desert. Desert plants have also adapted to extremes of heat and aridity by using both physical and behavioral mechanisms. Native people have occupied this area for thousands of years, hunting and foraging for food, medicine, and raw materials. In the 1800s cattlemen arrived with their livestock and built water basins, while miners dug through the earth looking for gold. Homesteaders soon followed and built small cabins, dug wells, and planted crops. Today the California desert continues to offer up a multitude of opportunities for people, from recreation to ranching, from mining to military.

Learning to be part of the desert’s ecosystem is an important step for desert survival. Our philosophy is not to fight the desert, but to become part of its ecosystem. Maintaining an adequate water supply is essential, and we’re here to help. Pioneers are our people!