The Borrego Valley Stewardship Council (BVSC) was formed in
2014 by community volunteers in cooperation with the National Geographic Society’s Geo-tourism Program and the University of California, Irvine Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center.
The purpose of the BVSC was to serve as a convening entity,
guided by a Geo-tourism Charter, which would regularly bring together interested citizens, civic and community organizations, government officials, agency staff, and academic institutions to discuss/address major issues relevant to the following mission:
“Borrego Springs seeks to be a model desert community in
terms of sound economic planning, beneficial year-round tourism, world-class life-long learning, and exemplary stewardship of our cultural, social, and environmental heritage.”
The Charter called for the development of a stakeholder-driven Destination Management Program, using a template similar to
those already in use at several other World-Class destinations around the world. The program would use state of the art communication tools, build a state park/community constituency of destination representatives, ambassadors, and storytellers, and support wise stewardship and promotion of both the community of Borrego Springs and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Council also recognized that success would be dependent on its capacity to address the following factors: water, air quality, biodiversity, sustainable economy, land use, governance, and human health.
Signatories to the original BVSC Geo-tourism Charter included the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce, the University of California, Irvine, the Borrego Water District, the Borrego Springs Unified School District, the Anza-Borrego Foundation, the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy, the Borrego Art Institute, and a number of restaurants, retailers, and resort managers.
In the ensuing years the BVSC sponsored meetings, workshops, and symposia that focused on issues related to tourism such as collaborative governance, economic sustainability, air quality, water use, etc. Several key programs were spawned and developed through the Council’s initiatives including: ongoing air quality monitoring and reporting (UCI/BWD), representing the Council to the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee, implementing the Borrego Springs Destination Management Program (BVA), and continuing efforts to integrate planning, resource use, and economic development for the Borrego Valley.