Desert Peoples / New Industries

Johnny Wilson, Bill Garrison and Montaque at Hexie Cabin

Notice of Water Appropriation

ca. 1915

Indigenous communities, cattlemen, miners and homesteaders were all in competition for access to water sources. According to early resident, William F. Keys, the first cattle were brought to the park area around 1870. To maintain a dependable water source, cattle companies had to construct or modify the scattered springs and natural water catchments to take advantage of natural drainages in order to capture rainwater.

This water appropriation notice legally acknowledged the C.O. Barker and William Shay Cattle Company’s claim to the water at Willow Hole. Historic dams, impoundments, and other man-made features continue to serve as critical water sources for park wildlife such as bighorn sheep. Many, such as Barker Dam and White Tank, still exist today.

Paper, pencil. L 35.6, W 21.7 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 24757