The Fort Irwin Expansion Plan Would Destroy Desert Wilderness Areas
RESOURCES THREATENED BY THE FORT IRWIN EXPANSION
- The U.S. Army is proposing to expand the Fort Irwin National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert. The expansion would devastate two Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) in the Mojave. The entire South Avawatz Mountains WSA and the lower portion of the Avawatz Mountains WSA would be lost.
- In 1994 Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Several WSAs were left out of the act to remain under "wilderness review" pending a decision on the expansion of the Fort Irwin National Training center. Areas that were left out include the Avawatz Mountains, South Avawatz Mountains, and Kingston Range.
- Now, the entire 27,580 acres of the South Avawatz Mountains WSA would be engulfed by the expansion of Fort Irwin. This vast and largely undisturbed area offers views of both the Soda and Avawatz Mountains. This area is habitat for desert bighorn sheep and has cultural values which include The Old Spanish Emigrant Trail that crosses the WSA.
- About 15,000 acres would be taken from the southern portion of the 108,992 acre Avawatz Mountains WSA. According to the BLM The Avawatz Mountains WSA contains colorful slopes and rugged ridges as well as steep and narrow canyons. This area contains 75 square miles of a seasonal bighorn sheep range in addition to traditional Shoshone materials.