Bureau of Land Management, California.
This oasis with its hundreds of swaying fan palms offers sanctuary in the midst of the dry Colorado Desert. Pools fed by artesian springs and seepage from the nearby Coachella Canal form a lush wetland area. The exceptional habitat shelters a variety of both threatened or endangered and more common animal species. In thick stands of cattails, the elusive and endangered Yuma clapper rail builds its nest, while in the warm waters of the pools swims the desert pupfish, a relic species from the Pleistocene era.
The preserve is also home to the endangered orocopia sage plant. The 1,400-acre Dos Palmas Preserve is at the heart of the 20,000-acre Salt Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern, created to protect important biological resources. The BLM has worked with partners such as The Nature Conservancy and California Department of Fish and Game to acquire and manage this sensitive habitat, and with Ducks Unlimited to design wetland restoration projects. Dos Palmas Preserve is administered by BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office.
From Interstate 10 at Indio, take the Dillon Road off-ramp and turn south. At the first stoplight, just over the railroad tracks, turn left (southeast) onto Highway 111 for about 25 miles. Along the way: stay on Highway 111 at its junction with Highway 86, by taking the left fork (toward Nyland). Proceed on Highway 111 through the towns of Coachella, Theral and Mecca, to the Salton Sea. About 10 miles southeast of Mecca, look for the Park Headquarters for the Salton Sea State Recreation Area on your right. Opposite park headquarters: turn left onto Parkside Drive. Take Parkside to the end (about 2 miles) and turn right onto Desert Aire. Follow Desert Aire to its end, then turn left onto the unnamed dirt road. Take the next left fork and stay on the dirt road to Rancho Dos Palmas.