Providence Mountains State Recreation Area
The Providence Mountains State Recreation Area is located in the Providence Mountains, within the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California. It is also home to the natural Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve, with cavern tours.
The California State Parks website states that The park has been closed since 2011 due to major infrastructure issues.
The Recreation Area is located on the east side of the Providence Mountains range and has dramatic views of the surrounding Mojave Desert. On approaching the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area one can see layers of tilted grey rock that are ancient limestone formed during the Paleozoic period. The base elevation of the park is 4,300 feet with the Providence Mountains reaching to 6608 feet.
Vegetation on the lower parts of the mountains is xeric shrublands scrub habitat, composed of Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), California Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus), Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), and Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera).
The habitat dramatically shifts with elevations above 4000 feet to a sky island where numerous animals and plants flourish in the added moisture caught by the mountains. The plant habitat includes forests of Single-leaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and California Juniper (Juniperus californica), and remnant chaparral and woodlands with Oaks (Quercus turbinella) and Manzanita in these higher parts of the mountains.
The Providence Mountains State Recreation Area is located at the north-western end of Essex Road, off of Interstate 40 (the Needles Freeway). The visitor center is located in a historic 1934 stone dwelling. There is camping, with a small number of sites available. Mitchell Caverns tours can be reserved via online Reservations information.
Providence Mountain Recreation Area was one of the 48 California State Parks proposed for closure in January 2008 by California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a deficit reduction program.
The California State Parks website states that "The park has been closed since 2011 due to major infrastructure issues. It is expected to reopen in 2014."
January 16, 2015: California State Parks responded to me by phone this morning 11:30 am PST: Mitchell Caverns still closed and did not open in 2014 as planned. They are working on establishing well water via core sampling and drilling. It is unknown if it will be completed in 2015. Originally in last October that thought so. Problem: Monies they had have been switched to other state concerns other than the state parks and their upper management is in turmoil by having serious management problems and replaced and then again replaced. The employees hope all will be corrected very soon.
- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25342 . accessed 6/20/2010
- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25146 . accessed 6/20/2010
- "Providence Mountain State Recreation Area". California Department of Parks and Recreation. . accessed 2.2.2014
- "Providence Mountains – Lanfair Valley Ecoregion information". U.S. Forest Service. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=615 . accessed 6/20/2010
- CBS5.com: List Of Calif. Parks To Close In Budget Proposal
- "Providence Mountain State Recreation Area". California Department of Parks and Recreation.
- Official Providence Mountains State Recreation Area website
- Providence Mountains Recreation Area Map
- Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve website