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COUNCIL DISTRICT OF THE MONTH: DISTRICT 1
A quirky bookstore, rock formations and a meditation retreat are highlights of the City's largest Council District
When asked the simple question, “Which City Council district do you live in?” the majority of Twentynine Palms residents will say they do not know. One of the main reasons attributed to this includes the fact that the official map of City Council districts is difficult to find.
Unlike the majority of incorporated cities in San Bernardino County, a quick Google search of the official Twentynine Palms City Council districts yields zero results. The City’s website directs you to a page of City Council members that states which district number each council member represents, but it fails to show the official map on that page.
Further down that City webpage is a link that eventually directs you to a third party website to look at a graphic titled “Orange Map.” This website is neither computer nor mobile friendly, and comes with a plethora of directions to navigate, making the process of looking up one’s district rather arduous. Per the City’s website, residents are required to access an “interactive community map” to view the newly adopted City Council districts. The directions for using the interactive map are as follows:
Once on the Community View map go to legend which looks like 3 sheets of paper on the right top tool bar and click. Click on City Council District Label this brings up the district numbers. Click on City Council District and it will color the districts for you. Make sure to type in your address in the search bar and it will show you which District you reside in.
Wow! Seems like a lot of steps for something that should be seemingly easy.
In an effort to increase transparency from our locally elected officials and encourage voter participation at the City level, this series will highlight each of the five City Council districts, so that you, as a resident, can find out which Council district you reside in and what makes that district standout to all the others.
District 1 begins at the western edge of the city, and spans across both the northern and southern halves of Highway 62. Everything west of Sunrise Road is in District 1, while the eastern side of Sunrise places you into District 2. If you live off Lear Avenue, Indian Cove, or Hatch Road, then you reside in District 1. Finding out where the District ends is not as simple, however, as the eastern end of the District shares a border with Districts 3 and 4. District 1 officially cuts off at what appears to be Mesquite Springs Road, but it also encompasses a small undeveloped territory south of Sullivan and immediately west of Adobe, leaving the district with a convoluted and hard-to-follow shape.
District 1 is the largest City Council district, by territory, and boasts an average household income of $70,000, compared to all other districts in the City that have average household incomes of less than $40K, per U.S. Census results. The district is currently represented by Steven Bilderain. The next time someone will be able to run for this seat is in November 2024.
Indian Cove Campground: Located within Joshua Tree National Park and on the border of District 1, Indian Cove Campground boasts 101 camp sites that can be reserved for $20 a night through recreation.gov. One of the largest camp sites in the national park, Indian Cove includes a scenic nature trail, significant rock formations, and the Rattlesnake Canyon picnic area.
Twentynine Palms Water District: Established in 1954, the Twentynine Palms Water District remains one of the longest running agencies in the entire Morongo Basin. Located at 72401 Hatch Road, the Water District covers water services for 29 Palms residents as well as Desert Heights and a few other unincorporated regions outside the City limits. The district boasts over 200 miles of pipeline and features a state of the art fluoride treatment plant that is nationally renowned. The Water District is open Monday through Friday, from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
Raven’s Book Shoppe: Immediately east of the Indian Cove Market lies a hole-in-the-wall bookstore unlike any other in the Mojave desert. Raven’s Book Shoppe, located at 69225 Twentynine Palms Highway, is the perfect pit stop for locals and tourists alike. Here, you can access hard to find books and collectible rarities of virtually any genre. You can also find an amalgam of books that highlight desert culture, American history, and the National Park System. Catching the shop when open is key as the store runs four days out of the week and has niche hours; Thursday through Saturday they are open from 10AM to 6PM. On Sundays, the store is open from 11AM to 5PM.
Fortynine Palms Oasis: Historically, the Fortynine Palms Oasis was a main water source for Native Americans of the Morongo Basin and is now an extension of Joshua Tree National Park. The Fortynine Palms Oasis trail, located off of Canyon Rd., is a quick five minute drive east from Indian Cove. The out-and-back trail is about three miles, and boasts views of the City of Twentynine Palms once you reach the oasis. The best time of day to hike this trail is right before sunset for an ideal photo session.
And remember, as with all the trails in JTNP, leave your doggies at home.
Knott Sky Park: If you’re in need of some greenery, shade, and a break from the typical desert flora, then Knott Sky Park is the place to be. The park stands on historic property once owned by the Knott family of Knott’s Berry Farm and was also home to Knott’s Sky Ranch Motel. Tucked away off the main Highway 62 drag on El Sol Road, adjacent to the 29 Palms Water District building, this park has a playground, baseball field, and a dog park all in one.
Stater Bros. Market: Founded in 1937 and headquartered in San Bernardino, CA., Stater Bros. Markets has over 170 locations throughout Southern California, and serves over seven counties. Serving as the only official grocery store in Twentynine Palms and the only grocery store between Twentynine Palms and Needles, CA., this location was built in 1985. With a full service deli, bakery, and butcher, this remains everyone’s go-to store for all their grocery shopping needs or a quick pit stop for snacks before entering Joshua Tree National Park. The fried chicken from the deli is a must try.
Southern California Vipassana Center: Heading east on Highway 62, you will see a large sign on the side of the highway with the letters “SCVC.” Located on 154 acres of pristine desert landscape, The Dhamma Vaddhana Vipassana Center of Twentynine Palms is one of hundreds of Vipassana meditation centers throughout the world. Vipassana is oldest form of mediation in Buddhism, and it is translated to mean “insight.” At the center, individuals can take a ten day live-in course in which they learn the practice of Vipassana meditation. According to their website, “Courses run solely on a donation basis and donations are accepted only from those who have completed at least one ten-day course. In this way, courses are supported by those who have realized for themselves the benefits of the practice. Thus, the spread of Vipassana is carried out with purity of purpose, free from any commercialism.”