Historic & Educational Programs

2023 Presentations

After the windstorm on Monday we had to move our history presentations from the conference rooms to a new location as our vendor show relocated to the rooms. With some impromptu paper curtains, we found the little wedding chapel on the property to be a perfect location and provided the ambiance needed for the talks.  The chapel is a replica of a Catholic church that was built in 1874 in Belmont, then the county seat of Nye County during a mining boom in the area. In 1906, the structure was moved to Manhattan, Nevada, as mining interests had shifted toward that area; the church stands there today.

We thank all the presenters that made the trip to Nevada and shared their knowledge from years of history research. It was great to see all our attendees enjoying the talks and learning why our mission to preserve and retain history of the area is so important.

We want to especially thank the local community groups for coming and sharing what preservation opportunities exist in Amargosa Valley, just a short hop from Death Valley National Park.  It was a good reminder to learn how many of the pioneers came through this valley and made the infamous turn that took them onto their treacherous journey of survival.

*Below is a summary of their presentations previously posted prior to the encampment.

David and Gayle Woodruff, Authors and Historians

Reflections of Bonanza

Ride back with us to those golden days of yesteryear…when Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe   stood for honesty, decency…and owned about 1/3 of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Using seldom        seen images and extensive research, local authors and historians David and Gayle Woodruff    bring the Cartwrights and their socially edge cutting ways back to life in an amusing and entertaining 55-minute slide show.

Owens Valley Aqueduct Story-Chautauqua Performance of William Mulholland.

Death Valley author and historian David Woodruff assumes the character of dreamer, designer, constructor and despot of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, William Mulholland. Abhorred in the Eastern Sierra…revered in Southern California…“Bill” brought a river from 233 miles away, so the City of Angels could grow into a great metropolis…while leaving a rural, agrarian community in ruins. This is the Owens Valley Water War at its best/worst.

Deb Fox, Author and Historian

Deb Fox is an artist with an accomplished career in film and television. She creates graphic novels about history. When she isn’t researching or making art, Deb enjoys hiking, camping, cycling, and road trips with her husband.


Ted Faye is a documentary filmmaker, exhibit curator, and historical researcher on stories and people of the Death Valley region. Faye has worked with tourism boards on both the state and local levels to develop materials that tell the stories of their communities. He was a historian at US Borax, and many images from this book are from the Borax collection at Death Valley National Park.

Marvin Jensen, Historian and DV ’49ers Past President/Life Member

Jan Jensen, DV ’49ers Director/Secretary, Life Member and Harry Wade Family Descendent

Marvin Jensen and Jan Jensen (father and daughter duo) will share more history of the Jayhawker party.  This years 2023 Keepsake is a reprint of John Ellenbecker’s book that they both worked on editing.  Learn more about the Jayhawkers, who they were and how they ended up in Death Valley.  Have you often wondered what they did after they made it out of Death Valley?  Come find out the facinating stories and how successful they became.  Some of the pioneers became active in their communities by becoming County Supervisors, Law Enforcement, Post Mistress and in other local government positions. Many were major land holders with productive farming, ranching, livery and a stage coach company.

Marvin Jensen, Historian, DV ’49ers Past President/Life Member

Come learn the history behind the TV show Death Valley Days. Western stories and legends based, and filmed, in and around Death Valley, California. One of the longest-running Western series, originating on radio in the 1930s. The continuing sponsor was “20 Mule Team” Borax, a product formerly mined in Death Valley.

After the presentation a 30 min episode of Death Valley Days will be shown.

Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds and

Abby Wines, NPS Management Analyst

The Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds and NPS Management Analyst Abby Wines will give us an update on the current conditions of the park after Hurrican Hilary.  Come hear about all the that is happening in Death Valley National Park and learn more about the history and present day initiatives for restoration, rebuilding and educational programs.  An update on Scotty’s Castle will also be part of the programs.



Ash Meadow’s pride and joy
The Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfish!
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Candace Wells, Visitor Service Specialist will provide information on the refuge

A recognized wetland of international importance, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is one of the first in the United States designated a Ramsar site. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was named after the galleries of ash trees described in expedition notes from 1893. This desert oasis, a very rare and unique ecosystem, is recovering and playing an important role in global conservation efforts. The refuge strives to promote conservation management and awareness through environmental education, outreach programs, volunteerism, and visitor services programs.

Cameron Mayer,  Executive Director of Friends of Amargosa Basin

Presentation on the Proposal to have Amargosa Basin become a National Monument

From its vital natural resources to its storied history, the Amargosa Basin is a truly special place. This beautiful desert landscape, nestled between Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve, is home to diverse plant species, endemic and threatened wildlife, vibrant communities, and significant Native American and European history and culture. It is often called the crown jewel of the Mojave Desert because it also has a unique feature rarely found in the desert: a beautiful river supporting abundant resources and lively ecosystems. It is truly a place worth protecting for generations to come.

Designating the Amargosa Basin as a National Monument would ensure a holistic management plan that would impart this broader perspective. It is time to take this step and grant the entire Amargosa Basin national monument status, a step that would honor, protect, and enhance the land and its people.