Death Valley National Park & California Desert Protection Act 25th Anniversary Celebration

Park Ranger Sarah Carter stands facing a small group of park visitors. Sunrise is just starting to light up the mountains and badlands in the background.
Park Ranger Sarah Carter leads visitors on a sunrise hike at Zabriskie Point.

Death Valley National Park is hosting special programs and events in celebration of the park’s 25th birthday October 26 –November 2. All programs are free and open to the public. On November 2, the park will waive entrance fees.

Death Valley was first protected as a national monument in 1933. On October 31, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the California Desert Protection Act, which created Death Valley National Park, designated over 90% of the park as wilderness, and added 1.3 million acres to the park.

Saturday, October 26

  • Ecological History of the California Desert(Presentation): Explore past landscapes through paleontology and art with Paleontologist Laura Cunningham. 1:00-2:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • Joshua Tree National Park (presentation): Learn about the amazing Joshua Tree National Park with Ranger Sarah Jane Pepper. 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.

Sunday, October 27

  • Sunrise Hike: Explore incredible geology on this moderate 3-mile hike with Ranger Sarah Carter. 7:00-9:00 a.m. at Zabriskie Point. Please wear closed-toe shoes, sun protection, and bring water.
  • Junior Ranger Program: Enjoy desert activities for the entire family with Ranger Tom Arnold. 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Visitor Center.
  • Ecological History of the California Desert (Presentation): Explore past landscapes through paleontology and art with Paleontologist Laura Cunningham. 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.

Monday, October 28

  • Dingell Act Overview (presentation): Learn about the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act passed earlier this year. 1:00-2:00 p.m. with Park Ranger Abby Wines in the Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • Astronomy Program: Experience and learn about some of the darkest skies in the country with Astronomer Marni Berendsen. 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Harmony Borax Works. Bring a head lamp, extra clothing, and a chair.

Tuesday, October 29

  • Geology of Death Valley (presentation): Learn about the dynamic forces that shaped Death Valley National Park with Geologist Marli Miller. 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.

Wednesday, October 30

  • Ask a Geologist (drop-in table): Questions about faults, rock types, and more?! Stop by and talk with Geologist Marli Miller. 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Visitor Center.
  • Burro Removal in Death Valley (presentation): Learn how Death Valley National Park is sending burros to happy homes with Ecologist Ali Ainsworth. 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.

Thursday, October 31

  • 25th anniversary of Death Valley National Park.
  • California Desert Protection Act (presentation): Learn about this signifcant act passed 25 years ago on this day with Ranger Hilary Clark and Protection Act Advoate July Anderson. 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.

Friday, November 1

  • Mining History in Death Valley (presentation): Learn about the colorful history of mining in Death Valley with Mining Historian Jeremy Stotzfus. 1:00-2:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • Astrophotography Lesson Part 1 (required prerequisite to attend Part 2 this evening): Bring a digital camera with a wide-angle lens and a tripod. Learn about camera settings for night sky photography with Ranger Patrick Taylor. 3:00-4:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • Desert Plant Adaptations (presentation): Learn about unique desert plants that survive in a land of little rain with Botanist Connie Rutherford. 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • Astrophotography Session (part 2). Prior attendance at the 3pm Astrophotography Part 1 session is required. Capture the night sky with Ranger Patrick Taylor. Bring a digital camera, wide-angle lens, tripod, head lamp, and chair. 8:30-9:30 p.m. at Harmony Borax Works.

Saturday, November 2

  • Entrance fees are waived today!
  • 5-kilometer Fun Run/Walk: Go for a run with Superintendent Mike Reynolds. 8:00-9:00 a.m., meet at the Visitor Center parking lot.
  • Cupcakes for Death Valley’s Birthday: Free cupcakes and remarks by NPS officials and special guests. 12:00-1:00 p.m.. at the Visitor Center patio.
  • Expo Booths: Partner organizations will have displays and information. 12:00-1:00 p.m.. and 3:00-5:00 p.m.. in the Visitor Center patio.
  • Retired Park Managers’ Roundtable (presentation): Former park superintendents will talk about the California Desert Protection Act with a question and answer session. 1:00-3:00 p.m.. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.
  • Reptiles of the Mojave Desert: Learn about snakes, lizards, and more with Herpetologist Jason Wallace. 4:00-5:00 p.m.. in the Visitor Center Auditorium.

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