A 50th anniversary celebration is planned October 3 for the Joshua Tree National Park Association, which long has supported the park's education and interpretation mission.
On Wednesday there will be a party in the Joshua Tree Visitor Center at 3 p.m. Association President Mark Wheeler and park Superintendent Mark Butler will highlight the association’s contributions to the park and to the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities. Refreshments will follow, and members of the public are welcome to attend.
As Joshua Tree’s official non-profit park partner, JTNPA works closely with the National Park Service in operating retail bookstores in four park visitor centers, delivering educational programming through the Desert Institute, awarding the Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award, and presenting the annual Joshua Tree National Park Art Festival.
JTNPA also provides ongoing support to park initiatives such as the Artist-in-Residence, Junior Ranger, and Robert Lee Graduate Student Research programs, “Evening at Indian Cove” performances, and environmental education programs for elementary school students.
The Association purchased the Joshua Tree Visitor Center in 2006, providing a popular “first stop” for more than 125,000 park visitors who travel through the park’s West Entrance each year. Currently operated by JTNPA and staffed by park rangers working alongside Association personnel, the Joshua Tree Visitor Center features permanent exhibition space, information services, and a store with a selection unique to Joshua Tree. Through the Association’s ongoing capital campaign, an opportunity exists to donate the visitor center to the National Park Service in the future.