May 29, 2001 – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management banned motor-vehicle use in the ecologically sensitive Surprise Canyon as part of a settlement of a Center lawsuit.

November 8, 2006 – The Center and allies, represented by Earthjustice, filed papers to intervene in a federal lawsuit in which off-road vehicle enthusiasts sought to allow extreme off-road vehicle use in Surprise Canyon, a rare desert stream in Death Valley National Park. 

July 25, 2007 – Thanks to intervention by the Center and allies in 2006, a federal court denied the attempt by off-roading enthusiasts to open Surprise Canyon to off-road vehicle use. 

September 18, 2007 – Another off-road-interest attempt to gain off-road vehicle access to Surprise Canyon was been struck down by a federal judge.

December 22, 2008 – Another application to open Surprise Canyon to extreme off-road vehicle use was denied. This marked the third attempt in two years by a small group of off-roaders to gain motorized access to the creek.


Photo by Daniel Patterson