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Old Spanish Trail Amargosa Conservation
Horse Trail
The communities in the southern Death Valley region have historically been an economy based upon mining and the support services connected with it. By the mid 1980ís the global economy, changing environmental requirements, and other factors brought an end to nearly all mining in this area.

The area fell upon hard economic times, and those people determined to stay and make a living in this spectacular but remote corner of California had to re-think how this was going to be done. We decided that the desert itself was the main resource we had to offer, and so we began to shift our efforts toward creating and enhancing the existing tourism services as well as learning how to operate a service based economy.

We started a nonĖprofit museum association and opened a museum in Shoshone in order to tell our story to the public. We formed a regional Chamber of Commerce, and lobbied Inyo County successfully for funding to support this important effort. In 2005 we started a non-profit land trust, dedicated to preserving habitat for the interesting and biologically important endemic plants and animals of this region.

Our efforts are slowly paying off. The region is gaining notoriety as a destination for outdoor recreation. A few new business start ups have opened their doors. The Old Spanish Trail, which passes through the heart of the area, has been recognized as a national historic trail, and interpretive kiosks and publications are beginning to appear. A twenty-two mile section of the Amargosa River has been recognized as worthy of the national wild and scenic river designation, and congressional legislation to complete this process is pending.

We believe that by assuring the preservation of a healthy desert ecosystem we can also assure that we will have a viable economy. As you tour through the region, please do not hesitate to ask the staff at China Ranch or other local businesses any questions you may have. Itís a desert out there; come and enjoy it!

Saratoga Springs