Huge Marijuana Grow Site Found in Death Valley National Park

The name is impossibly perfect: Jail Canyon. That’s where a 40-acre marijuana growing operation was discovered last week. Park rangers discovered the site after a fly by of the site, to the west side of the Panamint Mountains, and posted an aerial photo to their Facebook page.

“Do you notice anything unusual about this image taken from an overflight of Death Valley’s remote Jail Canyon? The perfectly aligned “shrubs” are part of a recently discovered illegal marijuana grow approximately 40 acres in size,” it read.

It’s a very remote area, not often visited by hikers, but nevertheless, it’s closed as authorities deal with the operation. Grow sites like this can introduce pesticides, land clearing, and poaching, according to the NPS. A big concern too is waterway diversion—marijuana is a thirsty plant.

“We are deeply saddened and concerned with the damage that these illegal activities cause,” said Barbara Durham, Traditional Historic Preservation Officer for the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. “The natural and cultural resources in these areas are irreplaceable and invaluable, damaging them for profit shows incredible disrespect to our homeland.”

“Preserving natural and cultural resources while providing an opportunity for the public to enjoy amazing places is at the core of our mission,” said Rob Wissinger, Chief Ranger at Death Valley National Park. “Seeing irreparable damage to a fragile ecosystem rich with rare natural and cultural resources is devastating.”

This plot is one of many discovered in Death Valley National Park over the years; you never know what you may find in the rarely seen corners.

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