2011 (June) Mitchell Caverns closes to the public a. The current well was drying up. b. Ranger and Park Maintenance Worker I retired from CA St. Parks c. Jan. 2012--Vandals destroy park structures. i. Stole all wiring from the VC to the cavern. The cavern was not touched. ii. Broke into, ransacked and looted Visitor Center iii. San Bernardino County Sheriff Apprehended Vandals and prosecuted – Now incarcerated in state prison.
2012 Governor Jerry Brown Cuts CA State Parks Funding a. 70 State Parks put on closure list – Mitchell Caverns already closed. No funding to rebuild. b. Save Mitchell Caverns – Volunteer Group Non Profit 501(c)(3) formed to help raise funds to help reopen park. Received matching funds from 20 million dollar account. With the assistance from State Parks Foundation the amount was $10,000 and the Department matched that for a total of $20,000 c. District Superintendent and District Maintenance Chief of Tehachapi District works with HQ to allocate $500,000 to repair all infrastructure and buildings throughout the park and to re open to the public.
2013 Work started to rebuild a. Visitor Center b. Cavern Lighting c. Drill new well and install new pump d. Porch on residence #2 is stable and restored. e. HQ approves a State Park Interpreter and Park Maintenance Supervisor positions to advertise
2013 Most of infrastructure work is completed f. Visitor Center Restored, g. Caverns have new LED Lighting installed h. Parking Lot Repaved i. State Park Interpreter I position filled
2014 May Well drilling begins a. Found a good source of water i. Water exceeds CA and US health requirements ii. While drilling, certain areas were collapsing due to the type of soil 1. Drilling is to resume on or about December 15th weather permitting to re-drill and install proper/correct well casing 2. Need health permit from county – can not get until well is operational and approved. b. Park can not open to public until county permit is received. c. New Generator is on site, and is connected to electrical system as of summer of 2015.
2015 It is anticipated that the re-opening of this great park will be in Spring 2016. Still having water well problems.. Please check the Department’s website at www.parks.ca.gov for any updated information.
2017 - California State Parks are still working diligently on finalizing the park reconstruction and improvements to meet State and Federal Regulations required to re-open the park to the public. Please check the Department’s website at www.parks.ca.gov for any updated information.
Mitchell Caverns, will reopen to the public on November 3, 2017 ~ More Information
Note: Mitchell Caverns and Providence Mountains State Recreation Areas are under the Management of the California State Department of Parks and Recreation and not part of the US National Parks Service. The Providence Mountains State Recreation Area is a State Park within the Mojave National Preserve but not part of the NPS.