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Help Science By Documenting Plant And Animal Species In This SoCal National Monument

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Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet, and is crossed by the Pacific Crest Trail. (Courtesy Bob Wick, BLM)
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Exactly 20 years ago, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, both part of the San Bernardino National Forest, were awarded National Monument status. Both ranges are run by the Bureau of Land Management (not to be confused with the other BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.

To celebrate the land's natural beauty and biological beauty, BLM officials are encouraging hikers are to join their BioBlitz, a challenge to photograph and identify as many species of plants and animals as they can over the course of 24 hours -- starting Friday, Oct. 23, at noon.

Monument Manager Dani Ortiz hopes avid hikers will take this opportunity to look a little deeper into the forest:


"There's 20 different species available like plants and amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals that we highlighted . That just helps us to kind of know a little bit more about some of those more rare species that we're looking to get data on."

Organizers will use the images gathered in the BioBlitz for scientific research on the foothills, deserts and mountains that make up the National Monument.
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Hiking map of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, Courtesy All Trails

The protected mountain range has over 280 miles of trails, so if you want to get out there, it's probably a good idea to start sooner than later. The Mounument backcountry can be reached via trails from the Coachella Valley and Idyllwild. The BLM also operates several campgrounds in the area, including free, dispersed campgrounds.

To share what you find, organizers ask that you use the iNaturalist app. Uploaded photos will go into the Bureau of Land Management catalogue.

To learn more about the project, go to DesertMountains.org.

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