Kelso Depot Visitor Center hours
Kelso Depot Visitor Center is open Fridays through Tuesdays from 9 am to 5 pm, closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Beanery Lunch Counter is closed.
Watch for storm damage on all roads
Recent storms have caused flash flooding and damage to roads. Reduce speed and use caution when traveling through the park after storms. Call 760-252-6100 or 760-252-6108 for updates. Check our Current Conditions page for information on specific roads. More »
"The tendency nowadays to wander in wilderness is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that … wildness is a necessity; … parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but fountains of life."
In 1994, with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act, Congress designated 695,200 acres of Mojave National Preserve-nearly half of all preserve lands-as wilderness. In Mojave Wilderness, natural processes are unrestrained, giving rise to the rich biodiversity so critical to the health of the global environment.
What is "Wilderness?"
Wilderness is the land that is-rare, wild places where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with the Earth, and find healing, meaning and significance.
From fear and trepidation, to exploitation, reflective romanticism, and active environmentalism, changing attitudes towards wilderness in America reflect the social, political and economic values and concerns of Americans through time. It was not until 1964, however, in a nearly unanimous vote, that the United States Congress enacted landmark legislation that added protection to some of the most natural and undisturbed public land in America. The Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness."
The United States was the first country in the world to define and designate wilderness areas through law:
"A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
Links and Resources
Digital-Desert: Mojave Desert Wilderness Areas
Did You Know?
The railroad town of Kelso in Mojave National Preserve was named in 1905 by railroad construction workers. Two men placed their names in a hat, along with that of a third who had just moved away. The name drawn from the hat was that of John H. Kelso, the man absent from the drawing. More...