I still vividly remember the way I met this thesis. My advisor, Dr. Hal Rothman, casually pitched it to me: "I have a project that would be cool, but it would take a year and probably rearrange your schedule." Yes, every bit as promised. I really need to thank Dr. Rothman for everything he has done for me. I couldn't possibly list even a fraction of the debts I owe him, big and small. It will have to suffice to say that he's taught me a lot, and I'm a much better historian than I ever thought I could be at this stage because of his guidance. I'll never forget his lessons, the explicit ones and the silent ones alike. I'd also like to convey my deep gratitude to Dr. David Wrobel, Dr. Andrew Kirk, and Francisco Menendez, who served on my M.A. Committee at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and to Dr. Bill Leslie, my Ph.D. advisor in the Department of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at Johns Hopkins University, for his patience as I finish the revisions to this project.
The employees of the National Park Service, especially the current and former staff of Mojave National Preserve, have been wonderful throughout the project. They put up with my questions and tolerated my miscues, and I can only hope that this history does them justice. I'd like to specifically thank Dave Anderson, Gordon Chappell, Bob Conway, Jean de los Reyes, Tim Duncan, Kelly Hawk-Mee, Marv Jensen, Mary "Jeff" Karraker, Andy Lesczykowski, Gretchen Luxenberg, Mary Martin, Janet McDonnell, Sean McGuinness, Kristy McMillan, David Moore, Tom Mulhern, Ruby Newton, Dave Paulissen, Gordon Pine, Barbara Schneider, Dennis Schramm, Doug Scovill, Linda Slater, Ted Weasma, and Danette Woo for sharing their experiences, comments, assistance, and time with me.
I'd like to acknowledge a professional debt to Elisabeth M. Infield and the late Frank Wheat for their important accounts of the California Desert Protection Act. Like any other historian who might attempt to write about the eastern Mojave, my indebtedness to Dennis Casebier is substantial. His well-researched series of books form the backbone of any historical study, and his incredible archive collections are a priceless resource for any future account of the history of the park's lands. My own account of the pre-park history of the area which is now Mojave National Preserve relies heavily on his research, though any mistakes in interpretation are, of course, mine alone.
Bill Fullerton, my desert chauffeur, was a tremendous help and an honest friend - how they squeezed such a big heart into such a rough exterior, I'll never know. My families, the one I've had for decades now and the one I formally acquired only months ago, cheered me on through the entire ordeal. I hope Bruce Nystrom and Herbert Nystrom would have approved of my efforts.
Rachel Diane Land Nystrom is my best friend in the world. She's smart, caring, hilarious and tender, beautiful and considerate, helpful, warm and utterly unique. She married me, and I'm the luckiest guy on the planet. I dedicate this text to her.
Eric Charles Nystrom
Last Updated: 05-Apr-2004