Joshua Tree

Community Action Guide

In 2016, Joshua Tree set out on a planning process to develop a new community plan. Three public workshops were held over the course of the year (February 25, March 31 and July 21, 2016). These workshops, open to any Joshua Tree resident, business or property owner, addressed strengths and weaknesses of the community, the community’s values, and what Joshua Tree aspires to be in the future. Workshop participants brainstormed areas of focus and actions to help the community move forward to achieve its aspirations. 

This Community Action Guide is a framework of actions identified by the community and supports implementation of the actions by the community. The goals and policies from the previous Community Plan were used to inform the guide and the Policy Plan portion of the Countywide Plan. 

Who We Are

There is a uniqueness to Joshua Tree that sets it apart from other High Desert communities. The combination of people, culture, history, and landscape give the community a “sense of place” as distinctive as its namesake national park. Above all else, the people of Joshua Tree value the natural beauty of the desert and strive for a harmonious relationship with the environment. This translates into a strong desire to preserve the rural desert lifestyle for its spaciousness and tranquility, and for growth in the community to occur in a measured and sustainable way. The community prides itself on being the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park and recognizes the symbiotic relationship it has with the park. Although life in the Mojave Desert can present many challenges, Joshua Tree is committed to ensuring that the community has excellent public infrastructure and full access to essential services.

  • Strengths and Opportunities

    Community workshops were conducted in each community as part of the engagement process. In addition, input was gathered through the Countywide Plan website. As part of the process, participants defined the strengths of and opportunities for their community. The word cloud below was created using the input provided during the Strengths, Opportunities, Values and Aspirations exercises and served as part of the base information utilized to develop the Focus and Action Statements of the Community Action Guide. The word cloud quickly informed participants of key issues and focus areas that could be addressed in the guide. The more a word or phrase was articulated, the larger the word appears in the cloud. The full results of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats gathered as a part of the engagement process is found in the Community Profile.

  • Community Values

    The Values are those shared assets, principles, standards, mores, and in the judgement of the community, what is important in the lives of its residents and businesses. A community’s values are an important consideration in shaping its aspirations, focus and actions.

    As a community we value:

    • Natural Beauty. Joshua Tree residents value the natural beauty of the surrounding desert environment.
    • Responsible Tourism. Joshua Tree residents value the economic and cultural benefits of tourism to Joshua Tree National Park balanced with maintaining a respectful connection with nature.
    • Cultural Reputation. Joshua Tree residents value the community’s reputation as an educational, artistic, and cultural center with abundant social and cultural amenities.
    • Sustainable Focus. Joshua Tree residents value dark skies and the natural desert with a focus on sustainability and diversity.
    • Vibrant Atmosphere. Joshua Tree residents value the diverse group of local businesses, artists, and personalities who make life in the community vibrant and unique.
  • Community Profile

    The community profile is a summary of the social, cultural, economic, and historic dimensions of Joshua Tree. It presents data collected through secondary sources to inform future actions. The profile, together with future studies and information gathered from residents, highlights essential facets and “tells the story” of the Joshua Tree Community.

    2019 Community Profile (opens in new window)

The Aspirations Statement is a written narrative illustrating how the community desired look and function once the Community Focus Statements and Action Statements are accomplished. This is a long term view of 10 to 20 years. The Aspirations Statement serves as a foundation for developing Community Focus Statements and Action Statements.

  • A Model Community for Sustainability

    Our community is at to the forefront of the sustainability movement by focusing on healthy and balanced living practices that do not negatively impact the surrounding desert environment. Local community groups organize incentive programs for homes that convert to point-of-use solar units. Additionally, monthly programs are held for the community to educate residents and businesses on ways to recycle, compost, and reduce water consumption. Joshua Tree continues its efforts to preserve the desert ecosystem and maintain a harmonious relationship with the environment.

  • Responsible and Respectful Growth and Development

    Growth and development within Joshua Tree progresses at a measured pace, with each project reviewed by a committee of residents and local stakeholders. Our community has an adopted set of design guidelines for the community to maintain the appearance, culture, and “Desert Funk” style of the area. We understand that growth is important in order to capture revenue from tourism to Joshua Tree National Park and to help the community continue to thrive. The design review committee and new guidelines help the new businesses and residences fit in seamlessly with the existing community and add value to the area.

  • A Gateway to Nature

    The community of Joshua Tree distinguishes itself as a well-known gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. Economic development in the area meets the needs of both residents and tourists, and many of our local businesses are focused on promoting the natural environment around us, whether through the sale of outdoor gear or services such as hiking or climbing guides. We also have a signage and wayfinding program to promote the community and help visitors better navigate the area.

  • Fostering Local Businesses with Rural Desert Character

    Joshua Tree is a community whose character is defined in part by local mom and pop shops The Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, with advice from the County, developed a streamlined process that serves all the needs of both new and existing small-business owners to start and retain new businesses. The local Chamber of Commerce works with the surrounding chambers of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms to coordinate business attraction, marketing, and business support activities, which benefits all three areas.

  • Enhancing Community Services

    Growth and development in Joshua Tree has enhanced community services, such as education, fire, and law enforcement. Joshua Tree’s K–12 school system is a highly competitive learning environment whose students have access to the technology and resources needed for them to excel. Additional sheriff’s patrols increase safety and better serve the larger population and increased numbers of visitors to Joshua Tree National Park.

The Action Plans consists of:

Focus Statements, which provide general direction towards realizing the Community’s aspirations and help organize the plan. (Identified in Workshop #2 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #3)

Action Statements, which are measurable statements providing critical information on the program, initiative or project to complete. (Identified in Workshop #2 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #3)

Action Plan Matrices, which provide general sets of action steps necessary to implement each action statement, identify those that would initiate and champion the action statement, provide a general timeline for implementation and identify resources for additional assistance. (Created to support and guide the Community’s identified Focus and Action Statements)

FOCUS STATEMENTS

Expand each Focus Statement to see related Action Statements and download the Action Plan Matrices.

  • A. Preserve the desert ecosystem, its natural beauty, and the community’s harmonious relationship with the environment
    Action Statements
    1. Partner with organizations such as Mojave Desert Land Trust to conserve natural desert habitats and wildlife corridors and to protect native plants and animals.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Promote water conservation as an essential part of living in the desert.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Develop a master plan to connect existing designated open spaces with Joshua Tree National Park.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Promote respect for local ecosystems and be stewards of the environment.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Promote smart, sustainable, low-impact growth and development.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    6. Encourage small-scale rooftop solar rather than large industrial solar farms.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • B. Maintain the rural desert lifestyle and character
    Action Statements
    1. Establish a welcome program to greet new residents, educate them on the unique desert experience, and offer them information regarding the community.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Prepare a landscaping and lighting guide to help current and new residents landscaping companies and construction and development companies either install or modify landscaping and lighting to meet the needs of the desert landscape and dark sky regulations.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Develop community-based design guidelines that explain the “Desert Funk” design style that helps define the unique character of Joshua Tree. The guidelines should focus on design concepts for the downtown area and include both residential and commercial development guidelines to assist designers in meeting community expectations.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Combine a harmonious vibe of peace and spaciousness with community activities to bring Joshua Tree’s diverse population together.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • C. Become a model gateway community to Joshua Tree National Park
    Action Statements
    1. Enhance the community’s identity as “The Gateway to Joshua Tree National Park."

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Establish a plan to create a vibrant downtown with more restaurants, cafes, bakeries, craft shops, galleries, and the like.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Coordinate with business and property owners to develop a series of guidelines for wayfinding and advertising signage that embraces the community’s design vision while providing direction and information to both residents and visitors.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Establish a downtown business improvement district (BID), or similar financing mechanism, to assist in developing improvements to the gateway.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Partner with SBCTA and Caltrans to advocate and seek funding for pedestrian and parking enhancements to provide a safer environment for residents and visitors on Twentynine Palms Highway (SR 62), in particular, through downtown Joshua Tree.

    6. Construct a lighted crosswalk at the intersection of Twentynine Palms highway and Sunset Road.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    7. Construct pedestrian refuge areas at key intersections to aid pedestrians crossing Twentynine Palms Highway.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    8. Collaborate with businesses and property owners to discourage Caltrans from widening of Twentynine Palms Highway.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    9. Establish a parking management plan within the downtown/gateway area.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    10. Locate open spaces such as courts, plazas, and park areas near and around businesses to encourage visitors to stop in the core downtown/gateway area.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • D. Grow the local economy in a manner consistent with the rural desert character
    Action Statements
    1. Enhance ecotourism by creating an economic development and marketing strategy that promotes the local environment and associated activities.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Encourage the sustainable development of lodging for Joshua Tree National Park visitors and advocate for responsible short-term rental (e.g., Airbnb) operations.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Support local business ownership and investment while attracting new entrepreneurs that share similar values with the community.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Partner with local educational institutions such as Copper Mountain College to develop or expand educational programs that lead to higher wage employment.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Support local job training opportunities for area teens.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    6. Explore opportunities to strengthen the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, partner with the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce to coordinate business attraction, marketing, and business support activities.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • E. Improve roads and other public infrastructure throughout the community while preserving the desert landscape and rural character
    Action Statements
    1. Design a trail system for both bicycles and pedestrians, connecting the downtown with surrounding open space and communities.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Establish desert road development standards that downplay the need for urban street improvements such as street lighting, curb and gutter, and sidewalks except as needed for safety.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Encourage rapid maintenance of key roadways immediately following storm events.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Embrace the Complete Streets approach to the construction and operation of the community’s transportation network, balancing the needs of all modes of travel.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Manage off-highway vehicle (OHV) use within the community boundaries through creation of an educational campaign to better educate OHV users on existing laws and legal use of their vehicles.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • F. Improve the delivery of essential services to the community
    Action Statements
    1. Advocate for increased police patrols.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Collaborate with the Morongo Basin communities on a regional plan to improve health care services and facilities in the area, emphasizing accessible, state-of-the-art care.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Collaborate with the Morongo Basin Transit Authority to improve bus routing.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • G. Reinforce the sense of “community”
    Action Statements
    1. Prioritize and develop community recreational facilities such as a community cultural center, an open space venue for live performances, and/or a dog park.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Advocate for substantial improvements to the Joshua Tree Library.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Organize more community events and activities to bring Joshua Tree’s diverse population together.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Embrace the Transition Movement, which aims to increase Volunteer group or person or can be identified by the community self-sufficiency to reduce the potential effects of peak oil, climate change, and economic instability.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Partner with appropriate agencies in pursuing grant and other financing opportunities to fund local improvement projects.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    6. Promote the unique artistic culture of Joshua Tree.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • H. Strive for greater independence and self-government
    Action Statements
    1. Reestablish the Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council to more specifically address the issues affecting the community.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Explore the potential for incorporation.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix

Download the Community Action Guide

Download the Community Action Guide in PDF format.

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