In this episode, host Chris Clarke discusses the successful fight against a proposed glamping project called Flamingo 640 in the California desert. Clarke is joined by community member Caroline Partamian, former president of the Homestead Valley Community Council Justin Merino, and Luke Basulto from the National Parks Conservation Association. They discuss the negative impacts the project would have had on wildlife, traffic, and the peaceful atmosphere of the area. Through community organizing and advocacy, they were able to successfully defeat the project. Tune in to learn more about their efforts to protect the desert landscape.
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0:00:08 - (Joe Geoffrey): Think the deserts are barren wastelands? Think again. It's time for 90 miles from needles, the Desert Protection podcast.
0:00:24 - (Caroline Partamian): You. Um.
0:00:27 - (Chris Clarke): Thanks, Joe, and welcome to another episode of 90 miles from needles, the Desert Protection podcast. I'm your host, Chris Clark, and we are talking industrial tourism. Today, in the middle of December 2023, the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino county, which is the governing body of that county, voted to deny a permit for a glamping project that was referred to locally as Flamingo 640. It was in the neighborhood or the community of Flamingo Heights, and the parcel size was 640 acres a square mile.
0:01:08 - (Chris Clarke): This would have been an upscale, private, restricted development that would have replaced a couple hundred acres of mature Joshua tree and Mojave yucca Forest Wildlife habitat with parking and some semi permanent tent platforms with plumbing, a restaurant, and a number of other things. The proponent of the project was a company called Robot Land, and they first proposed this project in 2020. Neighbors became aware of it almost a year later, in April of 2021.
0:01:47 - (Chris Clarke): There are just a lot of problems with the proposal. The traffic is already very dangerous in the area. Adding a couple hundred trips a day at a minimum would have been a bad idea. It's a stride corridor for wildlife linkage between the San Bernardino Mountains and the desert to the north and east. That wildlife connectivity would have been interrupted. There are concerns about noise, about fire safety, about particulate matter, air pollution, about light trespass.
0:02:24 - (Chris Clarke): The county of San Bernardino just went through a lot of trouble to concoct a light trespass ordinance to help preserve dark skies and privacy in the desert part of the county. And this would have compromised those dark skies. Neighbors organized for a couple of years, and then on December 19, in 2023, the extremely pro Business Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino county voted against this project three to two.
0:02:54 - (Chris Clarke): I'm joined today by three people who were extremely important to that campaign. I'm going to let you all introduce yourselves.
0:03:03 - (Caroline Partamian): Hi, my name is Caroline Partamian. Thanks for having me on. 90 miles from needles. I love this podcast. I'm a community member who lives in Flamingo Heights, and I've just learned a lot about the project since things first got started.
0:03:18 - (Justin Merino): Justin Merino. Here.
0:03:19 - (Justin Merino): I am the former president of the Homestead Valley Community Council, which was the lead organization that spearheaded this a handful of years ago. And currently I run a nonprofit group called Save our deserts.
0:03:35 - (Luke Basulto): I'm Luke Basulto. I'm with the National Parks Conservation association as the California Desert program manager, and in this instance, a very minor supporting role for these two awesome individuals.
0:03:51 - (Chris Clarke): And I should say by way of full disclosure that Caroline and Luke are on the board of directors of the Desert Advocacy Media Network, which produces this podcast. We're talking about a proposed glamping project that's fairly significant in size and potential impact.
0:04:06 - (Caroline Partamian): There is a lot to say about it for sure, but in brief, the massive glamping development that was proposed for this site on 640 acres would have caused major disruption to a wildlife freeway that's existing there currently, and also would have caused significant traffic concerns on the adjacent highway, 247, that's right adjacent to it because of accommodations that the site was trying to build. 75 campsites, huge chalets, huge fire pits, and a restaurant that would have been over 10,000 sqft, for example, and a sewage disposal area that would have been almost 60,000 sqft that would have had a leach field going into the wash, where tons of wildlife do exist over there, and a ton of water usage from 212,000 gardens that they were proposing, et cetera, all of which would be also closed to the public.
0:05:08 - (Caroline Partamian): So it would have been a completely private resort that would have definitely affected the wildlife and traffic.
0:05:16 - (Chris Clarke): What's the neighborhood like now without the Flamingo 640 resort? Can you describe it for folks that have never been to this part of the desert?
0:05:24 - (Caroline Partamian): Yeah, sure. I live like a quarter mile from where the south end of the Flamingo 640 site begins. And it's very peaceful, the area and our neighborhood is also very peaceful. There's maybe eleven or 15 houses in this little neighborhood pocket on the south side of that property, and it's beautiful. I love living here, but something like a massive commercial development would very much change the tone of the neighborhood. I think the loudest sounds we hear currently are cars driving past the house, dogs barking, and occasionally the bombs going off from the marine base, the testing, which are infrequent. But those are probably the loudest sounds that we hear right now and sometimes already hear the cars passing by on the 247 as it is.
0:06:12 - (Caroline Partamian): But otherwise it's very quiet and very peaceful. Looking out my window right now, I see the wash pipes Canyon wash, which is also right adjacent to where the site would be, pipes Canyon wash. I can see Goat Mountain from where we are, to see packs of coyotes running around from time to time. But yeah, it's just very lush with desert life. It's thriving. A lot of people would look at it, maybe just think it's a dry landscape, but it looks so different in every season, with wildflowers popping up and just new growth of creosotes all the time.
0:06:50 - (Caroline Partamian): And yeah, it's a very thriving desert landscape right outside the house. Joshua trees, mojaves, lots of desert trumpets, a ton of creosote, a lot of petty bear choya, desert willows, and also a lot of invasive species of weeds, the puncture weeds, and everything that are growing around. A lot of jackrabbits, too, and a ton of birds always. And just the other night, there were two owls. It's mating season right now for the owls, and there are two Joshua trees right outside our house. And owls were just pooing at each other in the middle of the night, which was just really beautiful to see and to hear. There are bobcats, definitely in this area, and cottontail rabbits, jack burrowing owls.
0:07:33 - (Caroline Partamian): I'm not the best at identifying birds, but definitely have seen a lot of finches and laquan thrasher and a lot of ravens.
0:07:43 - (Justin Merino): Everything that Caroline just mentioned as well is literally outlined in what is called a community action guide for the Homestead Valley. I have it open in front of me, and what Caroline just explained is how the community and the county worked to craft this guide, which was a call to preserve this area. It says, natural beauty, wide open spaces, fresh air, dark skies, a tranquil atmosphere, unpaved roads, pristine air.
0:08:10 - (Justin Merino): This is exactly what Caroline is looking out her window at. This is what makes up Flamingo 640.
0:08:17 - (Chris Clarke): Justin, how did you become aware of this project?
0:08:19 - (Justin Merino): When this all first started, I, like Caroline and everyone else, was a community member attending these meetings, and I got super interested in what was potentially going to massively change the desert landscape for which I moved out here for. And that resonates, I believe, with a lot of both our longtime tenured residents and then folks like myself who are transplants. So my involvement came quite quickly, and I got pushed into the forefront on my own accord as being president of HVCC.
0:08:54 - (Justin Merino): Save our deserts was an offshoot of HBCC when that group went quiet, and I did not want to see the initiatives on HVAC die. And so I set up save our deserts as a one off, particularly just to focus on Flamingo 640. And it has ballooned into a much larger sphere of influence because of the challenges we're having here with development from.
0:09:22 - (Chris Clarke): The perspective of the alternate universe where this project went through as originally proposed, let's say a person has booked a spot for a weekend there. What would they have seen when they drove into the place? What kind of amenities were they planning? What's the lodging like? What's the atmosphere like?
0:09:36 - (Caroline Partamian): If someone pulled into this site, if it was to be built in an alternate nightmare universe. It would first of all be a terrifying pull in off the 247 with someone probably driving right behind their car as they're enjoying the scenic 247, looking at all the Joshua trees and the butte across the highway. People try to pull over all the time to take pictures. But yes, they'd be pulling in on an unpaved driveway off the 247 and they would start seeing a bunch of camping lofts. There were going to be 20 sites for camping lofts, camping 1035 sites for that chalet. They had proposed 20 sites for that, that were going to be over 850 sqft each.
0:10:25 - (Caroline Partamian): They would maybe also be greeted by a ton of wind because it gets very windy up here. So who knows if those tents would even be up and standing at that time that they pulled up. There would be a huge reception and camp area at almost 2500 sqft. Restrooms, fire pits. In some alternate plans I remember the developer had proposed colorful, just terrible looking art. Public art sculptures. I call them public art just because that's what it looks like. They just look terrible. But they wouldn't be open to the public either.
0:11:04 - (Caroline Partamian): A helipad that would be used for emergency use only. And we know here that just when a helicopter passes over from the marine base or to replace a telephone pole in the wash, it is so loud and all the dust gets kicked up. So there would be also like a ton of dust, potentially a big art barn that would be used for yoga, an agave bar at 5500, huge restaurant that I mentioned earlier, the sewage disposal area, some trails, paths and gardens and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, and then just Joshua trees and also the ghosts of Joshua trees path that would have been just bulldozed down to make room for this development.
0:11:44 - (Chris Clarke): Sounds like a kind of project that some folks would advocate for, but just in a different spot. I mean there's a sort of vaguely similar resort in downtown Joshua tree called Autocamp. It's in a commercial zoning area, walkable to a bunch of stuff in Joshua Tree, including restaurants and places to buy groceries and that kind of thing. I'm just wondering, how do you reconcile the problems that you saw with Flamingo 640, with the incredible demand for places to stay around Joshua Tree? Because we've got 3 million visitors a year and we don't have enough room to put them in.
0:12:15 - (Caroline Partamian): That's a great question, Chris. My belief from. I think it's a great question because I think a lot of people are experiencing housing difficulties in the Morongo Basin at large right now, but the building of new developments, in my opinion, is not necessarily the way to go, because there has been a lot of insight from recent studies. In 2022, the Morongo Basin Conservation association hosted a short term rental conversation with many people in the community. It was a whole mix of people. Everyone is experiencing a housing crisis right now in the Morongo basin. Like, where do you put the tourists? Where do you put the people who need to live here? Where do you put the teachers who need to live here to teach at the Morongo Basin Unified School District?
0:13:00 - (Caroline Partamian): It was very insightful from that meeting that I found out that actually more than 10% of houses right now are current and buildings are currently vacant in the Morongo Basin. So I think, in my opinion, that would be a great place to start, would be to get a ton of these and turn them into places where people could live long term rental. But if a place like this had to develop, it would be so much more appropriate to be built along the 62 in places where commercial zoning was already designated.
0:13:33 - (Caroline Partamian): Building this place in a place where it's zoned for rural living, which I know Justin can definitely speak on more, would be horrendous and would set a terrible precedent for more developments trying to come in and build hotels, essentially, and resorts. This project, the Flamingo 641, was called a resort in its application to land use services back when it first was proposed, and it's just definitely not the appropriate place, as Justin referred to the community action guidelines.
0:14:05 - (Caroline Partamian): We moved here for the dark skies, for the peaceful resonance of this space, and not to have a house right next to a resort like we do in cities.
0:14:15 - (Chris Clarke): It sounds like the promoters of this project really capitalized on the sort of vaguely campground aspects of this in order to make their case. The area around Joshua Tree, even along route 62, which is the main highway through the Morongo Basin Gateway communities to Joshua Tree National park, there's really extremely limited camping, unless you're willing to go out on a dry lake and be totally self sufficient and bring your own water and that kind of thing.
0:14:42 - (Chris Clarke): The idea that there's potentially a campground where you can pull up, pay $35 or something like that, and pitch your tent and sleep, have somebody there to watch your tent while you go hike in the park, that's not what we're talking about here. Really sounds like it was a motel or a hotel, but with canvas walls instead of two x fours and sheet rock.
0:15:04 - (Justin Merino): Yes, and I have not had any second thoughts over the years post denial of this project. But as save our deserts has expanded to other campground projects. I believe you always have to look at the root cause here, and it's easy for us to say that a developer is using a loophole. I'll go out there and say as well that these designations are given by the county by land use services. It's my opinion, and that of sambar deserts, that land use services misuses this designation.
0:15:45 - (Justin Merino): And there is a serious need from the county to revisit this. Whether it's Flamingo 640 or another campground glamping project that is underway, the county gets a double punch. They get a punch from the community pushback, and then they end up getting a punch from confused developers that receive this designation and then are shocked at the pushback from the community. Flamingo 640 happened to be in what is called rural living residential in lay terms.
0:16:19 - (Justin Merino): This builder was looking to get a special permit to have a change of use for that property, or allowable use, rather, connecting to Highway 62 and commercial zones and being able to pull in somewhere to like a KoA style campground and pay your $35 in camp. Yeah, for all intents, that does not exist. I have visited more than a dozen national parks throughout the nation and Joshua Tree. The lack of synchronicity between the town and the community and the county.
0:16:55 - (Justin Merino): I'm always surprised that you could literally drive down 62 and if you weren't paying attention, you'd drive right past this national park. I think when you zoom out here and go back in time, Joshua Tree wasn't as popular as it is today. But there seems to be a sort of a hands off approach from all of these entities that encompass Joshua Tree National Park. I don't believe that scattering these glamping resort campgrounds all throughout the desert, which was what we've seen, are 25 30 minutes drive from the actual park. I don't think that is the solution. I wish that there was some sort of group, some sort of consensus work with the community to figure out what that solution may be.
0:17:43 - (Justin Merino): But the lack of housing, the lack of space for tourists should not end up hurting the community, but even more so hurting the actual folks that are coming out here to enjoy what they're coming out here to enjoy, which they won't be able to enjoy because they're staying at a massive resort. There is a need. I don't believe that these campgrounds, sprinkled in salt and peppered throughout the desert are the solution.
0:18:10 - (Chris Clarke): Just to zoom out for a little bit and get a little bit of broader context. We have a situation where this particular national park is way more popular than it can stand to be. Luke, I'm assuming that this is not unique to Joshua Tree.
0:18:25 - (Luke Basulto): No, I think Joshua Tree is the one that's most visible just because there is a community that abuts the park with Joshua Tree. Yucca Valley, 29 palms, and then on the opposite side, the Coachella Valley. It's surrounded by communities of different sorts, so it's real easy to see the effects of this kind of thing on a park like Joshua Tree. But there are parks like Death Valley who have neighboring communities. Perump or the Amargosa Valley. There's communities in there that have to deal with similar kinds of visitation issues.
0:18:59 - (Luke Basulto): If you're thinking of parks in a greater scale, definitely parks like Yosemite and like Yellowstone. I know the folks up in Montana definitely have their issues with tourism and dealing with that on a much larger scale, I think, even than what Joshua Tree deals with. Just because those parks are like the crown jewels in the national park system, they get millions and millions of visitors more a year than parks like Joshua Tree or Death Valley or the Mojave preserve.
0:19:25 - (Chris Clarke): So how did you guys beat this? I mean, you're going up against robot land Company, which has a lot of disposable income potentially, and a real incentive to not bought this square mile of land without making a boatload of money off of it, either by flipping it or following through on the development. It seems like a real David versus Goliath kind of thing. How'd you win?
0:19:46 - (Caroline Partamian): We got notice of this project in April 2021. It was a near three year, two and a half to three year struggle against this. And I want to reiterate that Justin and I, and you all are just volunteers also. We're volunteering all of our time to be activists against projects like this. We're not getting paid to do it. And I can speak for myself. I have six or seven jobs on the side, and this is just an extra one. It was like having an 8th job, and it just took a lot of patience and stress management and diligence and a lot of education, because I personally came into this knowing absolutely nothing about how to approach this goliath of a situation.
0:20:40 - (Caroline Partamian): And you, Chris, were like one of my beacons of light at the very beginning of this project, starting the Morongo Basin glamping task force, having our first Zoom meeting with some community members who were willing to learn more about the project. You and Brandon Cummings were both on that first call that we had. And I know I've reiterated this to you before, but for the purpose of the podcast, I say that my brain is a sponge and I've just learned so much from you and just tried to retain as much information as possible.
0:21:12 - (Caroline Partamian): I'm not as good as retaining information as Justin is. Justin is incredible at retaining information and relaying it back to people and organizing folks. But what I was able to do on my end of education was to start a petition on change, to be able to get a ton of signatures and just have that as another public resource to be able to disseminate information from about the fact that, yes, you can sign a petition all day if you want to, you can sign 10 million petitions if you want to, but just a petition is also not going to do much. You need to actively contact your county representatives. In this case, we had to contact the contract planner from the very beginning. We had to contact the planning commission at the next stage of the hearing. We had to contact the board of supervisors.
0:22:00 - (Caroline Partamian): I think a lot of the patience and timing, when to reach out to people too, to make sure your voices are heard and not getting tired of the process is extremely important in fighting this and not to be intimidated if you don't know anything. And then, thankfully, when I went to an HBCC meeting about a year after this, I know the one that the developers were at. I know Justin wasn't the president yet at that one. Right, Justin?
0:22:30 - (Caroline Partamian): But then following that, I remember at the HBCC meetings, I met Justin and I was impressed by this new president of HBCC. And just sense, it felt like a blessing that Justin was there leading that group and being able to speak on Flamingo 640 and development with this sense of education and encouragement to the community. And so knowing that people in the community would also be listening to Justin because he was really good at relaying that information and presented in a very organized way to the community, all of those things. It was really just a group effort. It's not just us in this room who were able to fight this project. It's really a matter of we were able to organize the so called facilitators of a fight against Flamingo 640. But really it was a community effort. And making sure that the community didn't get tired of the fact that this also may have gone even longer than two and a half or three years to make sure to be diligent about it and to keep fighting and knowing that this land that we're here on is worth fighting for.
0:23:36 - (Caroline Partamian): And our safety as a community too, is worth fighting for.
0:23:40 - (Justin Merino): Yeah, I concur with everything that Caroline said. I believe that if I had to, in a short amount of time on a podcast, what is the win? I don't think there was a magic formula to the win. I believe that, as Caroline alluded to, obviously, that the community played a massive part in it. So how did we win this? Social media websites disseminating information and translating that into a way that a, the public and the community would both digest and care about.
0:24:17 - (Justin Merino): When you receive 84 pages of environmental impact reports and you've never seen one or you've never read one, it's daunting, it's intimidating, and we all live busy lives, and so does the community, and people just push that aside. I would like to think that one of the major tools that led to this victory was our ability to get this information out to the community so that they understood what was going on, explain to them all the different processes as this project went over through each different department within the county over the years.
0:24:54 - (Justin Merino): And yeah, I wish there was a secret sauce there. We did all the traditional town hall meetings, and from the beginning of the project to the end of the project, of course, as we both humbly said, there was a ton of support by a lot of people in the community. However, there was this, from my point, not yours, Caroline, but there was this nagging voice in people's ears, whether it be at the county or the developer of justin.
0:25:25 - (Justin Merino): And I think that also helped the community know that they had someone there that was going to lead them and also fight for them and see it through. I've experienced with other sorts of projects that might not be development related, and I've heard and spoke to people all across America about their fights against development projects. And a lot of time, things ebb and flow with staff and members. And I think just the continuity of having this group, both with the glamping task force and save our deserts, I believe that was the part of how this project was denied.
0:26:11 - (Luke Basulto): Yeah. Just to add, I know you all don't want to toot your own horn on this, but I think you do both deserve a very big deal of credit, at least from my perspective. The enthusiasm and the kindness and the understanding that you brought into those community meetings, I think really lent itself to the success and the eagerness of that community to continue this fight. And that's such an important aspect of community organizing. And for me, being relatively new to community organizing as well, I took a lesson from that. It's seeing you two speak to that community and rally the support and get them the info and keep them going, keep the drum beat going on stuff. Justin, you said staying on top of the county, all that stuff is so important in fights like this, and it was really cool to see you both do that. And I think you both should give yourself a really big pat on the back for that kind of work because, yeah, that was so important.
0:27:05 - (Justin Merino): Thank you.
0:27:07 - (Caroline Partamian): Thanks, Luke.
0:27:09 - (Justin Merino): From the developer side, this project started on their end in 2020. It was first brought to the community in 2021, and that was when the first sort of public comments were requested from the community. I want to say in early 2022 is when the developers attended the one and only town hall where they were presented with lots of questions, of course, with this project and attempted to answer some of those.
0:27:49 - (Justin Merino): They ended up following up about a month later with the questions in the written form. The project then made its way through the landing of Services planning department and the planner suggested to the planning commission that this project move forward. That was their official recommendation after receiving thousands of comments as well as signatures on the change petition against the project. At that point, the project went to the planning commission. We had a group of folks that attended in person in San Bernardino, which is quite a trek away from the desert, and I mentioned that because we had a wonderful turnout at a remote video conferencing center in Joshua Tree and the public got a chance to comment. There was one person in favor of the project, and I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it was around 50 folks that spoke publicly against the project.
0:28:54 - (Justin Merino): It was a fascinating planning commission meeting, as I understand from other land use service staff, from folks that have been involved in these sorts of projects for years or decades. They were also dumbfounded. Long story short, the planning commissioners refused to vote. So what that ended up meaning was that the project by default was denied. And it was denied with a little asterisk called without prejudice, which means the planning commission did not deny the project, they just failed to vote, which meant that it was denied at this point. The project was then thrown back to the developers and the planning department, and immediately the developers filed for an appeal.
0:29:50 - (Justin Merino): Around October of 2023, the developer opted to have an appeal heard on their original project to the board of supervisors, and that hearing was heard in December. And this time there was a super large crowd of folks that showed up in person in San Bernardino and a super large crowd that showed up in Joshua Tree. Believe the hearing was approximately about 3 hours long and probably fatigued the board of supervisors.
0:30:24 - (Justin Merino): But they were all still vertical and still had a pulse at the end. And without dissecting the entire decision making conversation at the end, ultimately the project was denied. And so that means for the developer and for the community that this project could no longer be considered. So that leads us to figure out what is next for this property. This is not the first development that has been proposed for this specific 640. And so it will definitely be interesting to see what's next.
0:31:02 - (Chris Clarke): And that was actually going to be my next question. Which is, what's next?
0:31:06 - (Justin Merino): What's next? I was in the same boat that Carol and I were both in, which was that we both got involved in this knowing nothing about land use services. This is not my nine to five and there is zero compensation for any of this work that we've done. With that said, what's next? So I mention all of that because I am constantly learning and as Caroline said, I am a sponge of information. And I learned many years ago that the same exact 640 acres was. There was a project planned here for a motocross and that project did not happen either.
0:31:44 - (Justin Merino): So that just gives you a little context of all the different sort of flavors that folks have tried out for this parcel. What's next? It is my hope, and I'm sure it's a collective hope that this land is preserved. I believe we made a strong case for that. However, there are a lot of stakeholders that have an interest in this property and yeah, what next is we don't have a crystal ball.
0:32:12 - (Caroline Partamian): So I'll leave it there just to add to Justin. Yes, there's no compensation in terms of monetary amounts, but the compensation of fulfillment, that things can be done by community members, by community action. That is reassuring to me that things could go in a direction that's not just led by developers. I moved to the desert from city four years ago. So I've seen all the gentrification and everything that's happened in those areas and it just seems like it's impossible to live anywhere without that happening.
0:32:52 - (Caroline Partamian): But it felt like a huge accomplishment in knowing that rural living is potentially protectable and all of that stuff.
0:33:02 - (Justin Merino): And I'll add to that, Caroline, about rural living and what's next. This is an important story, or an important bit or chapter rather, for Flamingo 640 and I'll make it short. In September of 2022, I reached out to the county via land use services and our county supervisor, Dawn Rowe and rang the alarm bell about campgrounds in the RL, which is the role living zone. And at that time we mentioned to the county that this was an issue that we saw that was going to blow up and explode and asked for a moratorium and for the county to review the 50 year old list of allowable uses in the RL zone.
0:33:52 - (Justin Merino): Unfortunately, there was no action taken then, and still no action taken. Unfortunately, there are about half a dozen other campground glamping resorts within a 15 miles radius of the Flamingo 640 project that are in the application stage with the county.
0:34:12 - (Chris Clarke): And I've been really heartened to see the degree to which people that are working on one of these proposals. For instance, the wonder in proposal have taken what they've learned in doing the work, and they're given material assistance to people doing similar campaigns. That's been pretty interesting.
0:34:27 - (Justin Merino): It's been wonderful. They have been wonderful supporters and we have supported them along the way as well. I know that they've spoken to folks, like I said, across the US who have experienced similar issues, and they are another great case study and with all due respect, a very great case study on a completely different approach and organization than how Flamingo 640 was formed. So it's not a one size fits all.
0:34:55 - (Chris Clarke): Justin, how do people find out about save our deserts?
0:34:57 - (Caroline Partamian): Sure.
0:34:58 - (Justin Merino): So if people are interested in learning about projects that we have had success on and that we are currently monitoring, they can go to saveourdeserts.org and they can also follow us on instagram at save our deserts.
0:35:15 - (Chris Clarke): Caroline, I was going to give you an opportunity to mention what other desert radio is, which is, I admit, a little self interested on the part of this.
0:35:23 - (Caroline Partamian): So as I know, I introduced myself as a drastic community member specifically in this case, but I am also living in the high desert as a sound and visual artist, and I co run and co founded a small community radio station that's online where you can find out more information at WW dot otherdesertradio.com. It's a kind of wacky looking site, and it's supposed to look pretty anachronistic and just all of the things that radio reminds us of.
0:35:56 - (Caroline Partamian): But we have a lot of different kinds of shows there from different voices in the desert. Some are shows that are like typical playlist shows that you may hear are experimental compositions that one might have that are broadcast on the radio. You might hear some podcasts, such as 90 miles from needles, which has some airtime on other desert radio outside of 90 miles from needles original home as well. So we're very grateful to have you on our airwaves as well, Chris. But yeah, it's just a little experimental radio station. It's great.
0:36:31 - (Chris Clarke): So check it out and I will concur about the website design. It's a little bit like a geocities page took, you know, speaks to me. Luke, any closing thoughts?
0:36:44 - (Luke Basulto): I just want to reiterate that this kind of community advocacy is so important to desert conservation as a whole. And I think that the Morongo basin and the work that folks like Justin and Caroline are doing should really be. I'd like to see it elsewhere in the desert. There's other communities that border national parks, like Barstow, California, my hometown. I'd really love to see the community of Barstow rally together to fight off projects that are going on there. I think that this is something that could be copy and pasted to a degree across the desert. And I think that it's so important to really try to get this going elsewhere. And I just really want to thank Justin and Caroline for everything y'all did and continue to do. And I look forward to working with y'all on future stuff. And, yeah, count me in.
0:37:32 - (Caroline Partamian): Thank you. We look forward to working with you, too, Luke. Yeah. I will just add one more thought that especially coming from having lived in cities where things were popping up left and right, or if you have activism, projects or protests, for example, because it's such a cornucopia of people in those kinds of places, you know that someone else is organizing something on your behalf. But when you live in a smaller or just less populated place like the California high desert, there are not that many people or not as many people. There are a lot of people, but there are not as many people. And you realize that you can't just hide behind someone else organizing something. It often takes you having to go to the front lines if you want to make a difference. It's all worth it.
0:38:18 - (Chris Clarke): Caroline Partamian, Justin Merino, Luke Basulto, thank you for being on this episode of 90 Miles from Needles.
0:38:24 - (Caroline Partamian): Thank you, Chris.
0:38:26 - (Luke Basulto): Thanks, Chris.
0:38:29 - (Chris Clarke): That's our episode for this week. Want to thank Caroline Partamian, Justin Merino, and Luke Basulto for taking part in this discussion. Very interesting. I also want to thank Kristen Stepanov for joining the growing ranks of our financial supporters. Kristen sent along a little tip on a story idea that we're going to be tracking down. Thank you for that, Kristen. And welcome aboard. We're glad to have you.
0:39:01 - (Chris Clarke): And also want to thank, as always, Joe Jeffrey, our voiceover artist Martin Mancha, who came up with our podcast artwork, which we absolutely adore, and you for listening. This is going to be a little bit abbreviated because I am recording this last bit in a somewhat noisy hotel room in Las Vegas as I begin the 90 miles from Needles southwest road trip. Next week, we'll be talking to the center for Biological Diversity's Patrick Donnelly on a startling development in Nevada water law. Until then, please take care of yourselves.
0:39:45 - (Chris Clarke): Keep fighting for the desert, and we'll see you at the next watering hole. Thanks. All.
0:42:04 - (Joe Geoffrey): 90 Miles from needles is a production of the Desert advocacy media Network.