Despite its forbidding reputation, Death Valley isn’t immediately lethal to all living things. The infamous corner of the Mojave Desert in California is home to a rare wildflower on the brink of extinction. The Eureka Valley evening primrose was listed as endangered in 1978 and, only now, has finally been saved from destruction.
The Death Valley evening primrose grows in the sandy dunes of the Eureka Valley. The delicate strands can reach up to two-and-half feet tall and only bloom at night, when visitors can catch a glimpse of soft white petals that fade to pink as the primrose matures. There’s something incredible about the natural world that this one flower can only be found in one valley on the entire planet.
Unfortunately, Eureka Valley was also a popular location for off-roading enthusiasts. We’re big fans of having a blast on ATVs and Death Valley is an amazing destination for off-roading, but the vehicles were putting the plant population in danger of total extinction. It took years but Death Valley National Park, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management have saved the rare flower: Eureka Valley is now part of a “wilderness area” included in the park.
There are other great spots for off-roading, but there’s only one Eureka Valley evening primrose. Park staff are now educating visitors about the new rules and how they can see the flower in a safe and responsible way. This is just one more reason to visit California’s Mojave Desert.