Dubbed the OwlsheadGPS Project, this effort by the Friends of Jawbone seeks to offer the most accurate information possible about backcountry motorized routes on our public lands.
Soon the public will be able to go online to view and print backcountry route maps, and even download routes directly to supported GPS devices. The first phase, as funded, will cover the greater Jawbone Canyon area, an area of approximately 1.5 million acres, and will launch this fall.
For the second phase of the OwlsheadGPS Project, the California Trail Users Coalition (CTUC) is developing a proposal to increase the coverage area to include an additional 25 million acres, including Death Valley National Park.
Death Valley National Park (DVNP) lent its support to the project in a letter from Superintendent Sarah Craighead. Within it states that DVNP "supports efforts of private organizations in developing the Owlshead Project and other online GIS data bases that would offer current, safe information regarding the park's backcountry road system." The Superintendent went on to say that she appreciates CTUC's "efforts to increase safety of backcountry users within the park."
Friends of Jawbone appreciates the support given to the OwlsheadGPS Project by Superintendent Craighead.
The OwlsheadGPS Project is funded by a 2010/11 safety and education grant from the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR). This effort is named in the memory of a young boy whose life was tragically lost in the Owlshead Mountains of Death Valley in August 2009. It is believed that he and his mother got lost deep in the back country after following inaccurate information on their GPS.
You can stay connected to this project here and at www.jawbone.org.
The Friends of Jawbone has gotten pretty good at route signing over recent years. In fact, we've invented new technologies such as special auger trucks that can install signs in seconds. Therefore, it should come to no surprise that FOJ assisting the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field office on their major court-ordered signing effort in the West Mojave desert.
All of the BLM's routes in and around Jawbone Canyon were designated through the West Mojave Plan (WEMO) plan and these are the routes that are required to be signed. The Jawbone Canyon/Dove Spring area and the Rand Mountains have been fully signed for some time. Other areas that are less often visited are currently the focus of the BLM signing effort.
Read more: El Pasos Signing Effort