Palm Springs, California lies on the western edge of the Coachella Valley, within the Colorado Desert. Located approximately 10 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 140 miles northeast of San Diego, it’s an easy two hour drive by freeway. The permanent year-round Palm Springs population is 45,000, and doubles during the winter season.
The history of Palm Springs is as varied as those who live here and come to visit. From the native Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to the first pioneers to the early Hollywood stars to the mid-century modernist architects to celebrity mayor, Sonny Bono, to today’s path to sustainability, Palm Springs remains a historical and ecological wonder.
Discover the Natural Wonders of Palm Springs
Palm Springs is a paradise for those who want to explore the naturally stunning environment. The desert resort community is the gateway to state and national parks, and ancient canyons for hiking, rock climbing and off-road adventures.
Indian Canyons and Tahquitz Canyon: National Register of Historic Places
Over 100 miles of hiking trails meander through rocky gorges, crystal clear streams and stunning waterfalls at the Indian Canyons and Tahquitz Canyon, ancestral homes of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon located in the Indian Canyons, is considered to be the world’s largest California Fan Palm Oasis and Tahquitz Canyon is famous for its stunning 60-foot seasonal waterfall.
Visitors can explore Cahuilla’s rock art, food preparation areas and house pits throughout the canyons. Go off the beaten path by taking a horseback riding tour of the Indian Canyons and panoramic views of the desert valley.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
From palms to pines, ride the world’s largest rotating tramcar of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to experience a 10-minute breathtaking journey from 2,643 feet from the Valley Station to the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet to access the pristine wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park. Over 50 miles of hiking trails are available and are accessed by exiting the Tram’s Mountain Station.
The Gateway to Joshua Tree National Park
Drive 30-minutes outside of Palm Springs through thousands of wind turbines to arrive to Joshua Tree National Park, a playground of giant rock formations, backcountry trails, and wildlife. From easy to difficult trails, one can explore a stunning desert landscape by foot, mountain bike or horseback. Guided tours are also available.
Off-Road to San Andreas Fault
Several tour companies take visitors out on scenic excursions to learn about the geological wonders of the San Andreas Fault Zone, which is 30-minutes outside of Palm Springs. Maze through box and slot canyons, walk along the gurgling streams and witness unusual sandstone formations.
Over the past four years, Palm Springs has invested more than $200 million dollars into new hotels and property renovations, many of which have implemented green initiatives to help reduce overall daily energy consumption, as well as providing guests with an eco-friendly property.
The Path to Sustainability
In 2007, The City of Palm Springs proposed the first steps on the path to making the Palm Springs a sustainable community. Over the past years, the City has implemented important policies and continues to move towards the goal of reducing overall energy use and green house emissions. In 2011, the city launched and completed several programs in water conservation, urban suitability and mobility, waste reduction, energy efficiency and green resources for local businesses.
In 2012, the City’s Office of Sustainability is working on the following:
- Partnering with the Green Business Bureau to create a online certifying Green Business Program.
- Increase public education about water supply and and desert friendly landscaping programs.
- New trail signage at City trail access points and install community gardens.
- Host a Mayor’s race to Save the Planet in April to Celebrate Earth Day.
- Add more location for electronic water drop off and increase recycling center locations
- Offer rebates for energy-efficient gas appliances and introduce energy efficiency min-grants to low-income residents
- City facilities will undergo retrofits for lighting and systems controls
To learn more about the City’s Path to Sustainability, visit http://www.yoursustainablecity.com/
Green Meetings in Palm Springs
The Palm Springs Convention Center, a SMG-managed facility, is a pilot facility for SMG’s Green I.M.P.A.C.T., a new environmental corporate program designed to provide best practices in water conservation, energy efficiencies, waste diversion and air quality at its 225 facilities including 68 convention centers in North America.
As part of the I.M.P.A.C.T. program, an in-house “Green Team” has been formed to help build the guidelines and best practices in areas of energy reduction, resource management, water consumption, air quality, and food and beverage.
- Since 2005, the convention center has had an overall reduction in energy use of over 50%.
- A “Trash to Treasure” program has been developed for clients and vendors to repurpose and/or recycle non-traditional materials.
- In-house catering partner, Savoury’s, utilizes biodegradable products, locally grown food and donates excess food to local assistance programs.
- Since 2010, the center is a pilot facility for the City’s new composting program and has diverted 33.13 tons of food waste to a local processing plant which then returns the composting to fertilizer for local markets.
To learn more about visiting Palm Springs, California visit http://www.visitpalmsprings.com/
Another resource for Green happenings in Palm Springs is http://palmspringsgreenscene.com/
A special thanks to Hillary Angel who is the Public Relations Manager for the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism for contributing this Guest Post.