Park to Celebrate 75th Birthday August 10

Joshua Tree National Park turns 75 on August 10, 2011. In honor of the occasion, the National Park Service will hold a day-long series of activities. Birthday events begin at 8 am in Twentynine Palms and continue throughout the day at multiple locations.

Fulfilling the promise of Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, Joshua Tree National Monument became part of the National Park System on August 10, 1936 with the signing of a Presidential proclamation by President Franklin Roosevelt. The area became a national park when the Desert Protection Act was passed by Congress and signed by President William Clinton on October 31, 1994.

On Wednesday August 10, the park will recall those historic occasions and other events in its past as well as look forward to the future. The activities below are all open to the public.

8 am: Ceremony and reception at park headquarters in Twentynine Palms. Associate Regional Director for Park Operations Martha Lee and Superintendent Mark Butler will speak. Winners of the 75th Anniversary Photo Contest will be announced, and the recently re-painted “Spirit of the Desert” mural by artist Cory Ench will be unveiled. (2 hours)

11 am: Photo Exhibit at Joshua Tree Visitor Center. Photographs of musical albums created by Gary Burden will be featured.

1 pm: 75th Anniversary Keynote Speakers. Bell Center, Copper Mountain College, 6162 Rotary Way, Joshua Tree, California. (2 hours)
Bill Wade, retired National Park Service Superintendent and past president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees and Dr. Emilyn Sheffield, Department of Recreation, Chico State University, two noted authorities with different perspectives on national parks will discuss the future of Joshua Tree National Park and of the National Park Service as a whole, as we move from Joshua Tree’s 75th anniversary to the National Park Service centennial in 2016.

3:30 pm: Book Signing at Joshua Tree Visitor Center. Tyler Nordgren, author of Stars Above, Earth Below, A Guide to the Astronomy of the National Parks, will be on hand to sign copies of his book. (1.5 hours)

7 pm: Dinner in the Desert at the Sacred Sands Bed & Breakfast. Hosted by the Joshua Tree National Park Association, this event has been sold out.

7:30 pm: Native American Cultural Performance at Indian Cove Campground amphitheater. The Cahuilla Bird Singers will highlight the culture and lifeways of the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians. (1 hour)

9 pm: Night Sky Program at Hidden Valley picnic area. Tyler Nordgren, Professor of Physics at Redlands University, will talk about viewing the night skies in our national parks. Telescopes will be on hand for viewing celestial objects. (2 hours)

Those planning to attend 75th anniversary activities on August 10 are asked to RSVP to George Land at 760-367-5507 or by email at

Last updated: February 28, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


(760) 367-5500

Contact Us