DeathValley.com is following the progress of a unique online project from the Friends of Jawbone (FOJ), a coalition in support of outdoor recreation opportunities in East Kern county. 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.
Dubbed the OwlsheadGPS Project, this effort seeks to offer the most accurate information possible about backcountry motorized routes on our public lands. 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."
DeathValley.com 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.