The Death Valley '49ers
Who are we?
The Death Valley '49ers is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to expand public awareness of Death Valley. We have no headquarters office, equipment, vehicles, paid staff or employees, and we receive no government or other funding.
Death Valley is a highly valued national resource and recreational area that is protected and preserved by the National Park Service and others for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.The aim of the Death Valley '49ers is to foster appreciation of Death Valley as a rare desert environment having unique natural and cultural histories, which played an important role in the settlement of the west and the addition of California to the Union.
Special recognition is given to the California bound pioneer wagon parties of 1849-50. Their indomitable will to survive and persevere through the ordeal of that winter serves as an enduring example of the hardy spirit of all Americans who traveled far searching for new and better lives.
The Death Valley '49ers sponsor the Annual Encampment each November to celebrate this pioneer spirit and this special place called Death Valley. Our organization is primarily supported by membership dues.
What we do
Directors and Advisors plan the Encampment and other projects and programs at six meetings held during the year.
- Produce the Annual Death Valley Encampment.
- Sponsor the Invitational Art Show.
- Sponsor the many Musical Events.
- Publish the Encampment Program, annual Keepsake booklet, semi-annual Death valley Newsletter, and several Books about Death Valley.
- Manage the Death Valley '49ers Scholarship Program for Death Valley area high school students.
- Contribute funding for Death Valley Educational Programs.
- Cooperatively sponsor the Death Valley History Conferences.
- Maintain contact with the Timbisha-Shoshone Tribe on matters of mutual interest.
- Assist in renovation projects.
- Assist in the creation and maintenance of Monuments and state landmarks related to Death Valley history.
Monuments commemorating historically significant people and events have been placed throughout the Death Valley region with the help of the Death Valley '49ers. Take a look at our Monuments page to learn more about each one.
Death Valley '49er Meetings
Six Death Valley '49er meetings are held in different locations during the year in preparation for the ENCAMPMENT in November. The first meeting is held on the last day of ENCAMPMENT at the visitors center auditorium at Furnace Creek, in Death Valley. The other five are set by the board and are usually held in locations such as Stovepipe Wells Village, Ridgecrest, and Lone Pine.
These meetings are held in January - March - May - July - September - and during ENCAMPMENT in November. Please visit our Meetings page for more information.
An Advisor must have the ability to make at least three of these meetings.
An Advisor is the next step up from general membership and into the higher workings of the Death Valley '49er Non-Profit Organization. An Advisor is someone who has great interest in the desert and Death Valley, and likes to help in educating others about this wonderful land. An Advisor gets involved in the preparation for ENCAMPMENT by participating in any number of committees in which they have an interest. An Advisor helps out in any way they wish during the ENCAMPMENT.
To learn more about becoming an Advisor and to see a list of our committees please visit our page on getting involved.
Past and Present Presidents
The Death Valley '49ers started as a non-profit organization in 1949 with members from Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. They worked in connection with California's State Centennial Celebration to produce an authentic, historical pageant in Death Valley glorifying the spirit of the California pioneers.
Learn more about our Presidents by visiting our Death Valley '49ers Presidents page.
1949 Centennial Pageant
The Death Valley '49ers started as a non-profit organization in 1949 with members from Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. They worked in connection with California's State Centennial Celebration to produce an authentic, historical pageant in Death Valley glorifying the spirit of the California pioneers. Please visit our Centennial Pageant page to learn more about this historical event.