Joshua Tree National Park Cowboys

Cattle grazed throughout the park from the 1870s until 1945. The grazing ratio was about one adult animal to 17 acres. Old-timers noted that the grass was tall and abundant. The cattle companies located springs, dug wells, and developed rainwater impoundments called tanks, which can be seen today at places like White Tank and Barker Dam.

In the early years the desert was open range and cattlemen moved their animals seasonally from one area to another in search of adequate food and water. In those days, if you were a cowpuncher, you had a pair of chaps, a horse and a pack horse, a bedroll, salt, staples, a six-shooter, and a big chew of tobacco. according to Jim Hester, an early area cowboy.

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Featured Park
Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. The Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush...
Featured Wildlife
Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.