Designing a New Nature Center at a Geological Wonder

Oper­at­ed by the Los Ange­les Coun­ty of Parks and Recre­ation (DPR), the Dev­il’s Punch­bowl Nat­ur­al Area is a des­ti­na­tion for hik­ers, nat­u­ral­ists, and schools.  It is a unique 1,310-acre won­der where vis­i­tors can , hike, or take a horse­back ride on a 7.5‑mile trail. Vis­i­tors can see spec­tac­u­lar up-tilt­ed for­ma­tions cre­at­ed by lay­ers of sed­i­men­ta­ry rocks and also explore a land­scape of Joshua trees, Cal­i­for­nia Junipers, and Piny­on 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. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, on Sep­tem­ber 6, 2020, the Bob­cat Fire destroyed over 30,000 acres of , includ­ed many parts of the Dev­il’s Punch­bowl Nat­ur­al Area, includ­ing the nature cen­ter.  As report­ed in this arti­cle by Julie Drake of the Ante­lope Val­ley Press, DPR is in the process of plan­ning for the replace­ment of the nature cen­ter and held three com­mu­ni­ty work­shops in the sum­mer of 2022 to gath­er input. 

The first deliv­er­able of this plan­ning project is a con­cep­tu­al design of the new nature cen­ter which was devel­oped based on com­mu­ni­ty feed­back.  Addi­tion­al work will be need­ed, includ­ing var­i­ous tech­ni­cal and envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies, to refine the con­cep­tu­al design and 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, of sew­er or waste­water sys­tem, and lim­it­ed capac­i­ty of the exist­ing park­ing lot and entry road. 

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