10 SAVE CONGLOMERATE MESA, CALIFORNIA.
This small corner of the California desert hides a world of rarities: pinyon forests where indigenous people have collected pine nuts for centuries, historic trails that carried 17th-century traders from the basin to the crest of the Sierra, Joshua tree deserts where endemic Inyo rock daisies bloom yellow in late summer. But the Conglomerate Mesa, though it’s rich with California’s best-kept secrets, could also be literally rich—with gold. Since it sits less than 2 miles outside the boundaries of Death Valley National Park, the mesa remains unprotected, so in May, claim holders got the go-ahead for exploratory drilling. The land’s local allies aren’t having it. They already challenged the first contractor looking to drill this year, and they’re revving up to face the next one. The long-term goal: permanent protection for the Conglomerate Mesa. Join the battle at friendsoftheinyo.org/conglomerate-mesa.