Down The Trail


Heritage and Music Festival

November 4th-10th, 2019

Would you like to attend?

Visit our Membership



General Meeting

(everyone welcome)

Saturday May 11, 2019


Ridgecret, CA




Encampment Event




Dennis Harders

2019 President

~ ~Over Herd~ ~


NPS Centennial Keepsake Book

"The Passionate Creation of

the National Park Service"

by Historical Reenactor Steve Hale

of Comstock Characters


"Death Valley - A Winter's Journey"

by Jackie Keller

Available Now!

The Water Hole


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Historic & Educational Programs

Educational Talks

The Death Valley National Park Superintendent and NPS Park Rangers present interesting and informative programs during the Encampment. Come hear about all the good things happening in Death Valley National Park and learn more about the history and present day initiatives of the park.


Historical Character Reenactments by Steve Hale (appearances onTuesday and Thursday)

Steve Hale to portray Bill Keys in a new historic reenactment during November 2018 Death Valley Encampment!

Steve Hale, historic character reenactor, makes his 5th year's appearance on Tuesday and Thursday during the 2018 Encampment in his new portrayal of desert gold miner Bill Keys.  Bill’s historical appearances will take place mid-week so look for the details for the time/location in the Encampment Schedule.

In 1879 Bill Keys was born to Russian emigrants.  He left his Nebraska home at the age of 15 to work the mines, mills and cattle ranches of the desert southwest. Soon he was prospecting in Death Valley and crossed paths with Death Valley’s Walter Scott, a.k.a. “Death Valley Scotty”. 

Keys is perhaps best known for the role he played in Scott’s “Battle of Wingate Pass” fiasco.  Last November, Steve reenacted Albert M. Johnson, Chicago insurance millionaire and builder of Death Valley’s “Scotty’s Castle”.  Audiences heard how Chicagoan Johnson traveled with his group’s mining engineer to confirm that his investments with Scotty were backed by an actual gold mine in Death Valley.

In 2018, you’re going to hear about the “Battle” that took place from Bill’s point of view as he hid waiting to orchestrate the ambush among the rocks at Wingate Pass.

In past Encampments, Steve has reenacted John “Snowshoe” Thompson - Mailman of the Sierra, John C. Fremont - Western Trailblazer, Stephen T. Mather - 1st Director of the National Park Service, and Albert M. Johnson - builder of Scotty's Castle, to the delight of our audiences. Background about these characters and Steve's upcoming performances can be found at

On Tuesday and Thursday during the Encampment, you’re invited to join in the fun while discovering more about the historic characters who helped shape the American West in Death Valley.

(NPS Pictures L to R: Frances & Bill Keys, Bill, Walter "Death Valley Scotty" Scott)

Historical Video & Slide Presentations

Producer and Writer/Director Ted Faye and author/historian Stanley Pahler are among the presenters that will provide informative historical based programs and films about the Park and Death Valley region with introductions by longtime Death Valley '49er and historian/author Marv Jensen.