JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK – Volunteers spent the morning at Joshua Tree National Park restoring the Ryan Ranch Adobe on Public Lands Day Saturday, Sept. 26.
George Land, volunteer manager and community outreach for Joshua Tree National Park, explained the importance of Public Lands Day.
“It is the largest day of the year for volunteerism on public lands,” Land said.
“That includes local, state and federal. Last year we had over 175,000 volunteers nation wide, including all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. It’s just one of those days for people that don’t get an opportunity to get out and volunteer in their local park, whether it be state or national, to get out to show their appreciation and stewardship to do a little bit of work in the park and enjoy afterwards.”
The volunteers worked from 8 a.m. to noon and had the rest of the day to enjoy the park. To celebrate, it was also a fee free day, where everyone was allowed in the park for free.
“We encouraged families to come in and bring a picnic and spend the rest of the day,” Land said.
The project for volunteers was graffiti abatement at the Ryan Ranch Adobe. Ryan Ranch was built by the Ryan family in 1898. It consisted of three structures; the ranch house, the bunk house and a windmill. In 1975, the National Register of Historic Places marked Ryan Ranch as historic structures, and because of this it is the national park’s responsibility to maintain and restore the structures.
The structures have crumbled over the years. On Aug. 12, 1978 the ranch house was burned down by suspected arson. Only the walls and foundations remain standing. Vandals come to the structures and repeatedly carve graffiti into the adobe.
Tom Haworth is a regular volunteer at the national park. He came out on that day to help out and learn from the rangers.
“I’m volunteering to help out at Ryan Ranch,” Haworth said. “I’ve volunteered in cultural resources for a while now, off and on for a few years, and I like archeology so its perfect. I’m doing this to help the national park and what’s really great is I get to go out and be with an archaeologist and it works out really good. I help him out and I get to learn a lot of stuff.”
With a mixture of adobe and clay from the surrounding areas and volunteers helped spread it over the exposed adobe and graffiti to help protect it from the elements. This process will be repeated in the future to help keep Ryan Ranch standing for years to come.