While the Joshua Tree area has been inhabited by humans for at least 5,000 years, by the late 1920s the development of new roads into the desert had brought an influx of land developers and cactus poachers. Minerva Hoyt, a Pasadena resident who was extremely fond of desert plants, became concerned about the removal of cacti and other plants to the gardens of Los Angeles. Her tireless efforts to protect this area culminated in 825,000 acres being set aside as Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936.
The monument was administered by the superintendent of Yosemite National Park until James Cole was appointed as the first superintendent in 1940. The eastern portion of the historic Oasis of Mara was deeded to the National Park Service by the Twentynine Palms Corporation in 1950. That same year the monument's size was reduced by 265,000 acres to exclude some mining property.
A National Park
Joshua Tree has one paleontological area and potentially eight more. The park protects over 700 archeological sites, 88 historic structures, 19 cultural landscapes, and houses 230,300 items in its museum collection.
Park staff greet visitors at three entrance stations, three visitor centers, and one nature center.
Behind the scenes the park maintains two water treatment facilities, 13 solar power stations, four maintenance facilities, eight employee housing units, and 95 vehicles.