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New hiking trail comes to the Desert Discovery Center

BARSTOW • A small group of young volunteers from across the country are spearheading the creation of a permanent hiking trail next to the Desert Discovery Center this week.

The trail, which will be a tenth of a mile long and wheelchair accessible, will be open to the public to learn about desert plant and animal life, history and geology.

It will also connect with other walking trails in the city, including paths to the hospital, senior center and elementary school.

“We are doing some of the groundwork,” said Nathan Franks, project leader of the National Land Conservation System (NLCS) Youth Corp, which came up with the idea for the trail project. “It’s going to set the tone for the whole nature park experience.”

In nine days’ time, the group will lay out an irrigation system to water the trail’s Yucca, Joshua and Texas Ranger trees, level the ground and add gravel.

“The plants are here but they’re not getting enough water and the Joshua tree is an endangered species right now,” volunteer Parker Throop said.

The volunteers, who are all recent college graduates, come from Washington, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin, and will be working for approximately nine months on similar projects and community outreach across the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.

Jane Laraman-Brockhurst, director of the Desert Discovery Center at 831 Barstow Road, said the facility exists to promote environmental education and accomodate its local, national and international visitors.

“We endeavor to make a small difference in our small community,” she said.
For more on the Desert Discovery Center, which is located on federal land run by the Bureau of Land Management, visit

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