Cultural resources at the DSC

Native American territory

The Desert Studies Center at Soda Springs is located within Chemehuevi territory. For thousands of years, Soda Springs has been a crossroads for trade between coastal California, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran desert. These peoples left diverse cultural artifacts, including tools and items from across the Southwest, quarries, petroglyphs, habitation sites, and footpaths.  As a result, the Soda Springs is been a rich area of study for archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians.

Euro-American arrival

With the arrival of the Spanish and later Euro-American settlers, Soda Springs continued to be used by traders, miners, speculators, railroad men, and dreamers. Artifacts from these activities remain across the landscape.

Present day

The Mojave desert continues to be a cultural crossroads, sandwiched between the Southern California megalopolis and the Las Vegas metropolis, bordered by two major trade routes transferring resources between the inland U.S. and coastal ports. As such, ongoing issues concerning Mojave desert management, climate change, solar energy development, water extraction, mining, recreation, endagered species conservation, and urban pollution affect far more than local ecosystems and residents.