Envisioning a New Nature Center
Operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area is a regional, national, and international destination for hikers, naturalists, and schools. It is a unique 1,310-acre geological wonder where visitors can walk, hike, or take a horseback ride on a 7.5-mile trail. Visitors can see spectacular up-tilted rock formations created by layers of sedimentary rocks and also explore a landscape of Joshua trees, California Junipers, and Pinyon Pine Woodland while observing the variety of wildlife. The Nature Center was remodeled in 1988 to serve as a critical educational resource to teach visitors about the sensitive habitat, local flora and fauna, and safety in the harsh extremes of the desert.
On September 6, 2020, the Bobcat Fire destroyed over 30,000 acres of land, which included many parts of the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, including the Nature Center, a small, roughly 1,000-square-foot wooden structure. As reported in this article by Julie Drake of the Antelope Valley Press, DPR has started the process to plan for the replacement of the Nature Center and is holding community workshops to gather public input. This planning project will perform the necessary environmental planning and conceptual design work to create a viable, appropriately-sized, and programmed project to replace the previous Nature Center and other related improvements that were destroyed in the Bobcat Fire. The new Nature Center building will address various site constraints, including the limited supply of fresh water, lack of sewer or wastewater system, and limited capacity of the existing parking lot and entry road.