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Next week's meeting of the Desert Advisory Council of the Bureau of Land Management has been canceled. It was scheduled for Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19, but the agency was unable to release an agenda to the public within 30 days of the meeting.

For more information click here to see the BLM website for the Desert Advisory Council.

Several sources are reporting major road closures in the Death Valley area due to a severe winter storm that struck the area on February 7, 2009.  Furnace Creek reported an inch of rain with more storms expected through the week.  Look for most roads to reopen as they are cleared.

Click here to view a PDF of the Death Valley National Park Morning Report, which is updated daily.  Area travelers can also check road conditions by calling:
California: 1-800-427-7623
Nevada: 1-877-687-6237

Today's DVNP Morning Report for February 8, 2009 reports that Highway 190 and Daylight Pass Road are open but cautions motorists to watch for mud and debris.  However, just about every other maintained road is closed, including Beatty Cutoff Road, Baterwater Road, Dantes View Road, Scotty's Castle Road, Titus Canyon Road, and Ubehebe Crater Road.

Even some of the most remote destinations are reported closed in today's DVNP Morning Report, including Saline Valley, the Racetrack and Hunter Mountain – all closed due to snow and ice.

This week's heavy rains brought hope among flower seekers that Death Valley might find a good bloom this Spring.  Up to two inches of rain was reported in and around Death Valley National Park early this week which "has greatly increased our prospects for spring wildflowers," writes Park Ranger and Naturalist Charlie Callagan in his most recent wildflower report .

In his report Ranger Callagan cautions readers not to expect the banner displays of 1998 and 2005, but he is optimistic that the upcoming bloom will "still be worth a viewing."
 
Every spring ready visitors from around the world monitor the prospects for a big bloom and regularly email us at DeathValley.com requesting updates.  What we find most interesting about the blooms is that they can often be found as late as July in the upper elevations of Death Valley.
 
But even now, flowers are already poking out.  Callagan notes that "Desert Gold, Brown-eyed Evening Primrose and Sand Verbena have already been observed blooming along park roadsides in the southern and northern ends of the park."

A ribbon cutting and Grand Opening celebration was held on October 25, 2008, for the new Visitor Center at the BLM El Mirage Off Highway Vehicle Area.  The event featured presentations by Mike Pool, BLM State Director, Steve Borchard, Desert District Manager, Daphne Green, Deputy Director for the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, and Brad Mitzelfelt, San Bernardino County Supervisor.

The El Mirage OHV Area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and its centerpiece is the 3,000 acre dry lakebed.  A variety of motorized and nonmotorized activities take place there including landsailing, speed trials, ultra-light and gyrocopter flying, model rocketry and remote control airplane flying.  The lakebed is also popular among the film industry as a site for automobile commercials and major movies.

Honored at the event was Ed Waldheim, president of the Friends of El Mirage, a coalition of users and representatives from several local, state and federal agencies. Ed was credited with keeping the project alive for well over a decade and for working to fund the Visitor Center's construction.

The Visitor Center was dedicated to the late Jim Livermore, one of the founders of the Friends of El Mirage and an early visionary for what has become the El Mirage OHV Area. 

The new Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The El Mirage OHV Area is a recreation fee area with per vehicle fees starting at $15 for one day.  Weekly and annual passes are also available.  For more information, click here visit the BLM's El Mirage OHV Area webpage .