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Billy Creech

Updates from the President

Rcent updates from MDHCA President Billy Creech.

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Be Ferris

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller. I’ve been so busy lately with work, recovery from a knee replacement, and of course all things related to the MDHCA (in case you haven’t noticed how delinquent I am with this letter to y’all), that I have actually had to consciously remind myself to be Ferris. What exactly does that mean and why should you care? Well, grab your popcorn, settle in, and I’ll tell ya.


Ferris Bueller is the title character in the movie about an ultra-suave and completely dialed in high schooler who decides to take a day off dragging his reluctant best friend and girlfriend along with him, teaching them a thing or two about getting outside of your own box every now and then to experience LIVING. Seamlessly maneuvering through every social clique, non-judgmental, making friends everywhere, and appreciating what every other group had to offer – whether it was his thing or not. By all accounts and descriptions, Ferris was “a righteous dude.”


Why am I telling you this? Because it’s important. We can all become so busy with life, that it’s easy to forget to enjoy living. Be it our work, hobby(s), volunteerism, etc, it’s natural to get very involved in something you care deeply about. It’s also very easy to let it totally consume you – and THAT runs the real risk of taking away the joy you experience from it. The other risk of getting consumed by something, is becoming so tunnel-visioned, that it becomes your sole-focus, or clique. That then turns into closing you off to new experiences and new groups and you become so busy with your own life that you forget that broadening your perspectives is a key aspect to actually living. I’m the MDHCA President – which means I have to be concerned with all things related to the MDHCA, no matter how big or how small, and it is easy to get consumed by it – trust me. Personally, I have to consciously give it, and you, my all while not letting it become all that I’m about. One of my personal goals is to attract as many of you to the MDHCA and Goffs as possible, but simultaneously be aware to not let any one thing consume you – because I want you to experience ALL the MDHCA and our Goffs campus has to offer – history in multiple aspects, artifacts, exhibits, camping, and exploration. I want you take your experiences with us into the world, and bring your worldly experiences back to us. It’s how we grow and LIVE. So, when your life is moving so fast that you can’t get a handle on it, remember to be Ferris: Just stop and experience living so you don’t miss it. A great way to do that is to plan a trip out to Goffs: come on out to relax and take a look around for a while.


Let that sink in while you read how we did in 2022 and some of the exciting things happening in 2023.



  • Increase Revenue by $65K, Reduce Costs by $5K (Achieved)

    • Revenue increased by $89,461

      • Includes $73,850 for specific projects

      • Our on site Gift Shop sales increased by $1800

      • Publication Sales (books) DECREASED by $21,000 (huge hit)

    • Costs Decreased by $1,000

      • This includes adding in holiday pay for our employees as well as severance pay when we had to make a personnel change

  • Our on site utilities and services actually reduced by $3,000 even with increased rates. A lot of effort has gone into improving this area

    • President thoughts: This is exciting and excellent, but the non-project specific revenue needs to drastically increase in 2023. Publication sales and variable costs will be targets .

  • Attract New Members, Excite Existing Members (Short)

    • Increased members by 257 – from 453 to 750 (66%)

      • Short of target, but 2022 was the first year the organization has grown its membership since 1994

    • Feedback on our efforts and offerings has been overwhelmingly positive as we try to add more value for our members and expose our mission to more people

    • President thoughts: Definitely the right direction, but 2023 target is 1000+. Comfort level is 2000+

  • Improve Awareness and Brand Identity (new web site, logo, etc) (Mixed)

    • Web/Social media reach: 2021: 15,200. 2022: 1,650,000 (10,755% increase)

    • New website not launched – but is very close (reviewing the new taxonomy now)

    • MDHCA Facebook group at 3200, Tale of the Mojave Road IG group at 343, and East Mojave Heritage Trail Facebook group at 337

      • Of those, 2980 are new in 2022

    • Multiple national, international, and global publications, associations, organizations, corporations, and major influencers now know who we are and what our mission is. Many came to our Goffs campus in 2022 and are partnering with us

    • President thoughts: We really expanded our reach and awareness, but 2023 has to get this new website launched and our new URLs into the game. Generate contributor content, and republish historical Tales from the Trail.

  • Attract and Strengthen Partnerships and Sponsorships (Achieved)

    • Government agency relationships have been restored and are very strong

      • Not only do we have formal agreements in place, but we are now partnering on activities throughout the BLM and Mojave National Preserve lands.

      • BLM, NPS, Mojave Advisory Council (MAC), Desert Advisory Council (DAC) have started holding their regular meetings at our Goffs campus

    • We have added numerous corporate partners and sponsors for events, activities, and projects ◦ President thoughts: Success on every attempted effort in 2022. 2023 will see efforts remaining in these current areas, but expanding to generate more partnerships in our other mission areas.

  • Good Governance: Professionalism: Compliance, Responsibility, Transparency (Mixed)

    • Charity Navigator score increased from 80 to 82

      • IRS 990 filing is the main information source – ours wasn’t complete in all those areas and I didn’t realize it until AFTER the submission deadline

      • This is being worked right now as a priority for 2023 submission

    • Candid! rating increased from Bronze to Platinum

      • Highest rating possible for transparency

    • Committees

      • Mixed bag here. Committees formed, but not much staffing or drive

    • Presidential thoughts: 2022 laid groundwork, but with so much going on, this area was allowed to not be a focal. Rethinking these for 2023 as leadership, staffing, and productivity are vital to our success. Policies are a focal in 2023. Charity Navigator score goal is 95, also want to publish our Board Meeting Minutes on the new website

  • Research and Collections Archive, and Historical Focus (Mixed)

    • 2022 saw more activity at Goffs from external researchers representing numerous institutions and organizations conducting research via our archives and collections

    • Finding Aid is publicly available on ArchiveSpace/Libraryhost

    • Oral history interviews were restarted and our collections were increased

    • President thoughts: The increased access to our archive was a key focal in 2022. 2023 will increase drive on organization, usability, and upgrading our on site technology, equipment, and improving our controls and compliance processes to bring them into alignment with modern practices, techniques, and technologies.


While the mission is to turn the MDHCA around financially and professionally, I am really proud of how we’ve also actually grown our historical offerings and made them more accessible to researchers and academics. One of the things I’m striving for is improving your experience when you visit our campus. For those of you who will understand the reference, I don’t want to be just some amusement park with rides, I want us to be Disneyland – offering you an experience with quality, flow, and attention to detail that will pull you into a moment and keep you there until it’s time to pull you into another story - making you want to come back over and over again. So, we are not just adding new exhibits, but looking for ways to improve the quality and flow of those we already have. Like Disney, a goal is to make you feel like you are in the story, which is the story of the Mojave Desert. We have one huge advantage over Disney, you are actually part of OUR story. Through your membership, volunteerism, and action – we are building the MDHCA story together. That’s the 2022 report card, now onto some fun stuff…….




Awesome volunteers and great employees are vital to our success, not only as an organization, but also with having a physical campus that is functional, clean, and provides a great experience for you and your family. While there are dozens upon dozens of people who have contributed, I would like to mention a few who have really stood out:

  • Bill Slutter – Board Vice President. He has taken on a lot of physical activities at Goffs and also donated a lot of items that cost a substantial amount of money for the purpose of improving our ability to provide our visitors and employees with a better experience. Additionally, he spec’d out a solar system for Goffs that will help reduce our monthly utility expenses.

  • Laura Misajet – our Director of Museum Operations. A key goal was to free up some of her time so she could be more visible in the community and represent the MDHCA at events. She has done a stellar job in that regard, and others, but her exposure has also enabled some new happenings at our Goffs campus – more on that later.

  • Arioch M’greene – our Site Manager. He has jumped into this role with the energy of ten people and the focus of a sniper. He is not only effective, but he is also a great ambassador for the MDHCA in his cheerful and friendly demeanor. Example: A couple (Devin and Kay) passing through Goffs when Arioch noticed their off-road trailer was broken. He offered to weld it for them, which he did, and they became some of our newest MDHCA members. During the process, they noticed his welding hood was broken and kept slipping off, as a surprise, a new welding hood arrived from them in the mail for him.

  • Greg and Gloria Waggoner – our Docents. They are our first ever official docents, volunteers who trade long duration camping for activities around our campus. They have been unbelievably amazing during their time at Goffs. Friendly, resourceful, helpful, engaging, and an all around blessing. Greg and Gloria are well above the bar in what organizations hope to get when they have docents. We are so glad they chose Goffs and we will miss them terribly when they get back on the road at the end of April, and sincerely hope they consider returning to us in the future.

  • Darin Hochberg – volunteer and 2022 Wagon Master Award winner. Darin has been extremely energetic and involved in numerous aspects of the MDHCA. He has repaired items, donated much needed items (water hoses, golf cart batteries, etc), and has manned membership and product sales tables for us during events. He is also a part of our Millman certification program, having earned his first qualifying certificate.

  • Bill Inglehart – volunteer and 2022 Explorer in Residence Award winner. Bill has become my go to resource for the (being structured) Trails Management Program and EMHT signage activities, and there is no one more qualified or experienced, nor whom I trust more with this area of leadership.

  • Ryan Wishner – has written a “Goffs Rag” piano number for us. If you were at Rendezvous 2022 – Ryan and his cohort put on quite a show by recreating an 1800s wax cylinder recording and doing a live musical accompaniment to a silent film. It was an amazing step back in time and a highlight of the event.


We’ve also had numerous corporate partners help us in some major efforts:

  • Equinox Mining Corp for donating $20,000 towards our solar program – which will help reduce our monthly utility bills.

  • General Tire for donating $50,000 towards the EMHT signage program – this is a massive effort to promote conservation and responsible backcountry exploration. GT also just provided 5 new tires ($1000 value) for our big flatbed trailer that will enable us to go pick up our new solar equipment – saving us $800 in delivery fees. It also gets our trailer back in the game for general site cleanup activities.

  • onX Off-road has donated money, budget, and resources for creating a featurette film, as well as the $3500 they donated for the upcoming Passport Program. There are other strategic partnering opportunities currently under review.

  • Bureau of Land Management Needles Field Office, Mojave Trails National Monument, National Park Service - Mojave National Preserve, and California State Parks - Mitchell Caverns – where we’ve come from to where we are with these relationships is a testament to these agencies and their people who have been willing and motivated partners with us.

  • E. Clampus Vitus – and Scott “Scooter” Wall – they have graciously, generously, and enthusiastically been partnering with us to create a monument and plaque for Charlie Connell who passed away last year. It will be dedicated on Saturday April 22nd at 12 noon during Spring Encampment. , as well as for other exhibits on our campus. They are also creating one for Dennis Casebier that will be unveiled in 2024.


As I said, there are a lot of people, organizations, agencies, and corporations who are helping and contributing in a multitude of ways and we are thankful for each and every one of you and them.


While one can describe the MDHCA in single word sound bites: Preservation, conservation, collection, exploration, and interpretation - the MDHCA is actually not about any one thing. The real beauty of it is that we have so much to offer to a multitude of groups and interests: history, research, artifacts, backcountry exploration, lost arts demonstrations, exhibits, museums, tours, events, etc. As you will read in this letter – we are adding even more to our portfolio by increasing and improving our offerings, exhibits, collections, and exploring new ways of utilizing our campus.



  • EMHT Signage In January, we officially entered our Performance Period with respect to the CA State OHV grant funding we were awarded for signing the 733 mile East Mojave Heritage Trail. Ground markers, tools, decals, and unique EMHT logos have all arrived and the installation process has begun. Billy Creech is leading the process, while Bill Inglehart, with a lot of support from the Desert Wranglers, is spearheading the installation activities. As a reminder, we not only received grant funding from the State of California, but also a very generous grant from General Tire. It’s astonishing how expensive this effort really is. Oh, have I mentioned we are looking for volunteers to help with this? Contact Billy Creech to get you or your group involved.

  • Hosting In January, BLM brought a group of women representing the “Daughters of the American Revolution” to Goffs, where Laura led them on a guided tour through the history of the area and our campus. We have also hosted regular meetings and tours for the Desert Advisory Council and the Mojave Advisory Council at our campus. All have been very impressed with Laura, the MDHCA, and Goffs.

  • Star Party As I made mention in the introduction, we are expanding our thinking and coming up with new ways to utilize our campus and help spread the awareness of and exposure to our mission to preserve and conserve all aspects of the Mojave Desert – including the skies above it. Afterall, astronomical viewing is history as you are looking back in time. In February, the MDHCA partnered with the Mojave Trails National Monument (MTNM) to host our first ever Star Party, an event born in the minds of our own Laura Misajet and MTNM Monument Manager Noelle Glines-Bovio. It was well attended by 80 people all of whom have an interest in viewing the stars and planets in the extremely dark sky environment that is Goffs. The Las Vegas astronomy club brought experts, amateurs, and a plethora of telescopes; while MNP NPS Chief Ranger Sierra Willoughby was on hand to discuss the Mojave National Preserve, and multiple professional photographers were present, including our own 2022 Photographer in Residence Award winner Ken Lee. A multitude of MDHCA volunteers hosted an incredible event and all signs point to offering this type of event multiple times per year to take advantage of viewing astronomical happenings from our unique campus. A tip of the hat to Laura and Noelle, and the rest of their team for putting together an (inter)stellar event.

  • E. Clampus Vitus 18-19 March will be holding their event at our campus. In the event you don’t know who the “Clampers” are: The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV) is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area.

  • Spring Encampment CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: 21-23 April. This is our annual site beautification, improvement, and repair event. Whether or not you want to dig with a shovel, swing a pick, twist a wrench, stroke a paint brush, dust some cabinets, or sort some documents – we have a work party that you can join. There is no effort too big or too small for this event – if you have the time to come out to Goffs, we’ll find something that fits what you want to work on – because we have plenty to do. Then, after a day of volunteering, relax with your friends and cohorts in the Fly Wheel Café enjoying the magnificent Mojave Desert sunsets, some food, and the libations of your choice. A special happening at this year’s Encampment is the unveiling of the Charlie Connell memorial marker and the Connell Mining District. If you wish to attend and participate, please RSVP via our evite link if possible: If you are not able to RSVP via evite, please contact Laura at Goffs directly.




I’d like to take the opportunity let you guys know what our 2022 In Residence Award winners are up to:

  • Ken Lee – Photographer in Residence attended our Star Party event and gave attendees some useful guidance on how to take night photos. We hope he will lead a workshop at our next star party which will be held Saturday August 12 - 13. In 2024 he is planning to host a weekend long retreat at Goffs for his night photography group. It’s not open to our members unless there are open spots available after their group gets first dibs.

  • Jim Toenjes – Researcher/Historian in Residence published a great article on some of the key history in our area titled, “African American Homesteading in Lanfair Valley”. Here is the link to his full article:

  • Chris Collard – Photographer in Residence, in addition to his regular photography activities, he has authored a twopart article aptly titled, “Of Elephants, Smugglers & Extortionists – on the Hunt in the African Bush” that is published in the first two issues of the new OVR magazine. The story recounts his adventure in Kenya, Africa participating with our common friend Sam Watson (FRGS, FI TEC) in conducting a lion census for the Born Free Foundation, and anti-poaching activities with game rangers.

  • Bill Inglehart – Explorer in Residence has been busily helping me with the EMHT signage project, trail assessments, leading groups on Mojave Road and EMHT tours to expose them to the area and its history, rebuilding his Jeep, and wrapping his head around the Trails Management Program I am structuring.

  • Austin Schoenkopf – Researcher/Historian in Residence has purchased a house within the Mojave National Preserve and is continuing his research activities and helping to provide specifications for updating and acquiring needed equipment in our archive. He has applied for grant funding, tied to the MDHCA, for a historical project he is working on.

  • Dave Nichols – Researcher/Historian in Residence has recently been on assignment in Great Basin National Park and will be leading archaeology workshops and tours during our Mojave Road Adventure Fest event in April.

  • Thomas Nichols – Photographer in Residence has been working on his photography and has graciously donated a lot of his works to the MDHCA.

  • Joe De Kehoe – Researcher/Historian in Residence over the past year has gotten our oral history interviews going again and submitted to our archive for proper cataloging.




As I’ve mentioned before, our campus, collections, and exhibits cannot remain static – they have to grow and change. Change doesn’t always equate to being radical, but can be a subtle, yet noticeable, upleveling of the quality, or the flow to enhance the visitor’s experience. Circling back to the Disneyland reference, Disney’s calling card is creating an experience for their guests. From the layout, the flow, the themes that do not cross-over (Cinderella stays in Fantasyland – she does not go visit Indiana Jones in Adventureland), attention to detail in every aspect, and quality. While most amusement parks dedicate their resources to creating a ride, Disney dedicates 5x as many resources to creating an experience. From the specific theme of one the “lands” – Fantasy, Tomorrow, Frontier, and Adventure (my favorite) – they put you into a theme as soon as you cross the threshold, then they start pulling you into the story as soon as you enter the line, by the time you actually get on the ride you are mentally in the moment – and they don’t let you out of it until you have completely exited that ride and are ready for a new experience. While we are not Disney, there is nothing to say we can’t do better and look at our offerings with that type of eye towards experience and detail and make improvements where we can. That is starting with a few things…..


First, the northern end of the campus will be dedicated and branded with a physical sign as the Connell Mining District after the late Charlie Connell who meant so much to our mining exhibits and equipment. The intent will be to start moving our mining oriented artifacts to that area and create an area that anchors your mind and experience into the mining activities of the Old West.


Second, Dennis spent a decade-and-a-half creating the Mojave Road and the EMHT, another three years fighting for it, and a few more years trying to remap it – it’s important we do proper justice to that portion of our history. The Mojave National Preserve donated a Mojave Road interpretive sign that we will mount on the southern portion of our property by the Mojave School Bus, Mailbox, and monuments (frog, gnome, Jeep). Thus anchoring and branding that area as a backcountry exploration themed portion of the campus.


Third, with the very hard work of Steve and Debbie Marschke, we are adding two new major exhibits to our campus: the historic original Mojave Cross, and the late 1990s pop-culture phenom, the Mojave Phone Booth. Each exhibit will be deliberately placed and constructed with the intent to replicate its original look, feel, and overall vibe. Special thanks have to go to Wanda Sandoz and Chris & Leslie Ervin respectively for their thoughtful and gracious donations of these items to allow us to build worthy displays/exhibits to bring these into your current reality.


Fourth, David M’greene graciously donated some items to our Ft. Piute display and improved the organization of it. If you haven’t seen this infantry exhibit – you should get your butts back to Goffs.


Finally, we are also looking to improve our offerings and flows within our museum and exhibit hall, as well as our outdoor artifacts throughout our campus. If you are creative or artistic, and have an interest in volunteering , we can certainly use you for creating and revamping our exhibits and displays. CALL ME!!!


Since I’m late with this letter, I have a lot to say (but Oh Billy, that’s so NOT like you – LOL), but it’s time to wrap this up so you can get back to what’s left of your day. I appreciate every single one of you and the contributions you are making to help grow the MDHCA story and bring it to people who never knew we existed. No secret here, I am looking for energetic volunteers to get more involved in our committees (many of which can be done from your home), as we have a ton going on. But, one thing I will not do is consume so much of your time that you stop experiencing living. So, be Ferris and remember that life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.


In Exploration,



Bureau of Land Management - MDHCA Sign Memorandum of Understanding

MDHCA President, Billy Creech and Bureau of Land Management Needles Field Office Manager, Mike Ahrens after signing the MOU. 22 April 2022 by Laura Misajet Photo

On April 22, the BLM Needles Field Office entered a formal partnership with the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association to maintain the Mojave Road and East Mojave Heritage Trail segments in the Needles Field Office. Needles Field Manager Mike Ahrens signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a legal document describing the agreement between parties, with President of MDHCA Billy Creech, at the OLAF event in Goffs, CA. The MOU establishes roles and responsibilities of both parties to maintain and monitor the trails to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and educational backcountry experience.​

Through this partnership, the BLM is able to enhance management of the trails, increase awareness about the trails, regularly maintain roads and routes for recreation access, and monitor trail use.

To read the full MOU visit:
Also see:

Action and Progress

Greetings Goffians – I hope this Goffsgram finds you well. Apologies that you have not received updates from me since my initial “Letter from the President” regarding change in the MDHCA, but as you can imagine, it has been an extremely busy few months. This letter will serve to provide you with some of those key updates. So, grab your popcorn and get comfy, there is a lot to unpack here.

Your Board has been extremely active and engaged making substantial progress spanning tactical, operational, and strategic areas. Some are internal, some are external. Some are new, some are fixing the old. I made a promise that I would leave no stone unturned to not only save the MDHCA, but to set it up to thrive into the future – and that’s exactly what’s going on. But first, a little history:

When Dennis first formed the Friends of the Mojave Road, he did so based on two main pillars of focus: Backcountry Exploration and History. This is a very powerful combination, and he was able to attract sufficient help and support from the off-road community to make this a viable and appealing endeavor – and he was able to sustain that support over decades of hard work and dedication. Hence, we now have not only The Mojave Road and The EMHT to explore, but the comprehensive histories as to why the area is special and worthy of responsible exploration.

With the looming California Desert Protection Act (CDPA), Dennis waged a war to protect his backcountry exploration routes and the rights of others to recreate and explore them. In fact, his entire effort was centered on the EMHT, a route he spent 7 years developing. He used a map of the route to illustrate his point, gave sets of the guidebooks to journalists, and took them on guided tours of the route to try and make his case in the press. He even sent representatives to Washington D.C. to personally deliver his written case against the CDPA. But he also saw the writing on the wall and took an opportunity to purchase a dilapidated old schoolhouse in Goffs, CA and restore it into the showcase museum we enjoy today. That then morphed into the 75-acre site at Goffs with all of its infrastructure and offerings, and converted the “Friends” into the formal non-profit “MDHCA” – thus becoming the third pillar of focus. It is no coincidence that the MDHCA was incorporated July 7, 1995 just months after the CDPA passed on October 31, 1994.

After spending so many years developing routes along with the effort and expense to publish the guidebooks, and then the fight against the CDPA, Dennis withdrew from backcountry exploration and focused instead on his historical collection endeavors and building out his site. This has remained the focus of the MDHCA since 1994, and this is the fatal flaw in the design. Dennis created three pillars, but only ever brought to bear two of them at any given time. Originally it was exploration and history. Then it became history and the site. He may not have realized that the expense of the site was justified by the financial and volunteer support from the backcountry exploration community – the community he then turned away from. As his focus on that waned, so too did the interest from the off-roading and exploration community. Left to only history and the site, Dennis and key folks did all the heavy lifting for free, with Dennis making up ever growing financial shortfalls out of his own pocket. Then, as age happened, what was once done for free had to be done by bringing in paid employees. A significant benefactor was found to cover those expenses, at first, but eventually this individual and the organization parted ways and put the MDHCA in the position we found ourselves in 4 years ago with a sudden $85,000/per year shortfall. You already know that story.

I can tell you this: the love of backcountry exploration never left Dennis Casebier. He simply was tired of the fight and angry that it had to happen at all, jeopardizing so much of his life’s effort and legacy. When I remapped the EMHT in 2019, I spent quality time with him all the way until his death. Through our conversations, it was apparent that he was completely and totally re-energized by the thought of the EMHT being traveled again. So much so, that in 2020, he proposed a project to me to remap another historic backcountry exploration route that is 110 miles in length and hadn’t been in use since 1903. Only after his passing, did I get handed the evidence that he and some key people had tried to remap the EMHT in 2008 but couldn’t make it work. So again, this passion for providing recreationists and explorers access into the backcountry to explore responsibly and expose them to the history, never left Dennis. He knew my efforts with the EMHT combined with my general exploration and business skills could reintroduce the original and most foundational pillar – it could revitalize the MDHCA.

Now that you understand that, let’s lay out what we’ve been up to since my introductory letter…

Oh, one other thing, I like to have fun. In no way shape or form should someone’s volunteer activities be more mundane than their day job – that’s how you lose energy and volunteers. So, you will start seeing some of that – first reflected in what I’m calling “Fun Titles”.

These are internally focused but necessary changes, improvements, and items that need to be addressed for the management, growth, and stability of the MDHCA.

  • Loris Mitchell has been elected to the Secretary officer position on the Board of Directors, a position she has previously held.

  • Laura Misajet, previously Executive Director, now has a new title: Director of Museum Operations and Public Outreach (fun title Curator and Cultural Attaché).

    • This title is more reflective of her role and our intent to get her more visible in the broader community of associations.

    • Laura possesses a higher-level skill set than has been utilized, my goal is within 30 days to have her offsite 20% of her time and 40% by Rendezvous

  • Employees: We now recognize 6 major federal holidays for our employees and compensate them accordingly.

  • Adam Parker – Site Manager: Adam has done an amazing job since he started in late December. So much so that the Board voted to end his 90-day probation after only 30 days. He has been an excellent addition to our staff, and we are completely thrilled with his performance. Please be sure to say hi and offer him your appreciation when you stop by Goffs. It is well earned and deserved.

  • There have also been several changes to formalize and standardize documentation and training so that we are more stable, compliant, efficient, and mitigate risk in our operations.

  • Training – Each Board member and employee has undergone state mandated compliance training. There has also been development training. More training opportunities are being investigated. We need to invest in our leadership in order to have effective leaders.

  • Board of Directors: Every single Board member now has a committee to lead as the board level chair. This introduces accountability and responsibility to each board member. The Chairs and committees are:

    • Billy Creech: President (fun title El Presidenté) Strategic Partnerships and ExOfficio member of all committees

    • Bill Slutter: VP (fun title Minister of Progress) EEO Compliance, Policy, and Progress

    • Darelyn Casebier: Treasurer (fun title Minister of Finance) Budget and Finance

    • Loris Mitchell: Secretary (fun title Minister of Heritage) Heritage, Archive

    • Rick Nisbet: Director (fun title Minister of the Interior) Ground Operations

    • Jackie Ridge: Director (fun title Minister of Illusion) Exhibits and Displays

    • Larry Vredenburgh Director (fun title Minister of Growth) Membership and Recruiting

    • Jim Donatz: Director (fun title Minister of Flags and Honors) Awards, Honors, Recognition (Flags coming soon)

    • John Fishell: Director (fun title Consul General) Legal and Documentation

    • Andreas Cohrs: Director (fun title Minister of International Affairs) Cultural Relations Abroad

    • Sean Holman: Director (fun title Minister of Propaganda) Marketing, Media, and Branding


Presidential Objectives
So, there are three main pillars for the MDHCA: Backcountry Exploration, History and Conservation, and the Physical Site and Museum. Dennis only ever deployed two of them at any given time. My focus is to have all three of them deployed together forming a very comprehensive and complementary strategy that brings to bear all that the MDHCA has to offer. All three are the priority, nothing gets diminished. Think of a stool – two legs and it isn’t stable but add that third leg and it becomes rock solid. With that said, here are my six Presidential Objectives, Goals for 2022, and Progress for the first two months of the year:

  • Generate Revenue

    • Goal: Increase revenue generation by $65K and reduce operating costs by $5K compared to 2021

    • Progress to Date: Compared with 2021 YTD we have increased donations by 265%, increased revenue by 52%. This is dollarized as $9,464 or 15% of our stated goal. Plan to reduce onsite costs by $7,000. Status: On Track

  • Attract New Members and Excite Existing Members

    • Goal: Increase membership by 700 compared to 2021; Add 25 additional volunteers

    • Progress to Date: Added 84 new members and 7 volunteers. Status: On Track

  • Improve Awareness and Brand Identity

    • Goal: Create new Web and Social Media presence, Create new Logo, Launch comprehensive marketing and branding campaign; Reach at least 1M people

    • Progress: New website and social media platforms are being developed and will launch in May. More content is being posted on existing Facebook accounts. Reach has increased from 300 per week to over 5000. Status: Work in Progress

  • Attract, Establish, and/or strengthen Corporate and HNWI Partnerships, Sponsorships, and relationships

    • Goal: Establish at least 3 strong corporate partnerships, 1 strong Agency partnership, and 5 association relationships. All are aimed at furthering our objectives, achieving our goals, and better accomplishing our Mission Statement.

    • Progress: We have signed our first Corporate Partnership with onX Offroad – a GPS navigation mapping software tool, and we have proposals in with two others. We are in the midst of multiple sponsorship opportunities. We have an agreement at the regional level with a government agency and that is submitted for final approval at the next level up. We have formed a formal relationship with the First Class Miners, Inc – a historic mining group, and have an agreement in principle with the Society for the Conservation of Big Horn Sheep – to overtly and directly engage with them in their conservation efforts. We are also engaged in a formal working committee with California Four Wheel Drive Association to partner on a Winter Event. We are in discussions with three other historical and cultural associations to form formal reciprocal partnerships. Status: Ahead of Goal

  • Good Governance

    • Goal: Up level Professionalism: Compliance, Responsibility/Accountability, Stability, Image, Transparency

      • Improve CharityNavigator score from 80 to 95 – Status: Work Starting

      • Establish Committees – Status: Complete (see above). 

      • Establish Mentor Program – Status: In Progress

  • Research and Collections Archive, and Historical Focus (Non Nobis Solum)

    • Goal: Improve the organization and accessibility of our archived collections and improve our relationships with researchers and research institutions

      • Get Collections Indexed in a publicly searchable online database. Progress: For the first time in years, our Finding Aid (Index) is now in our control and the funds provided to get it onto updated software and back online as a searchable Finding Aid for other researchers and research institutions to examine our collection offerings. Status: In Progress

    • Goal: Establish relationships with 5 researchers and 3 research institutions. Progress: We have 4 researchers actively using our facility and an Archive Consultant reviewing and evaluating our cataloging and filing process. Institutional relationships are being investigated. Status: On Track

    • Goal: Grow our Historical collections, and artifacts. Progress: After a many-year hiatus, our Oral History Interviews are back in process with one already completed, another scheduled soon, and more on the way. I’m also looking for Mentees in this area and have inquiries with researchers and institutions to partner up. Status: On Track


A few other exciting things are happening. First, thanks to Debbie Miller-Marschke, we have secured the original Mojave Cross and Jackie Ridge, our Minister of Illusion, will be designing and erecting an appropriate display once we have it in our possession. Second, a mention to Joe de Kehoe for his willingness and excitement to re-engage on the oral history interviews and his not wasting any time in getting them going again. Third, a ton of excellent work by Rick Nisbet, Minister of the Interior, and Adam Parker, Site Manager, in driving a lot of progress in getting some much-needed items addressed on the Goffs site. Fourth, a huge recognition to Bill Slutter and Jim Donatz for stepping up to carry on the Mill Man Program given the unfortunate and unexpected passing of Charlie Connell.

In addition to everything above, we recently joined the American Alliance of Museums (more to come on this later) and because of Jackie’s persistence in scouring the internet, we were able to secure three new-to-us locking and fireproof file cabinets to better protect our precious archives. There are many more things happening that could extend this another few pages, so I’ll stop here. But Thank You to Everyone who has jumped in with both feet to help us gain rapid traction so we can make progress toward our aggressive goals.

So, that’s the direction and primary drivers to get us there. Bring all three pillars together to offer experiences very few, if any, organizations can. Anyone can offer exploration, just as anyone can offer history or a physical site. Not many, if any but us, can offer all three. Each of those items above contribute to our goals in numerous ways, but all ultimately lead to one thing – the strategic viability of the MDHCA. Now, let me shift gears to discuss some exciting things happening.

It’s going to be a very busy Spring in Goffs as we have multiple events planned over back-to-back-to-back weekends. The Events:

  • Mojave Road Adventure Fest – 22-24 April

    • Partnering with a third party to host this event

    • Focus is overland exploration and historic education

    • Event is a paid event, so the Goffs site (other than the Schoolhouse Museum) will be closed (unless you are a paid attendee or an event volunteer). Attendee limit is 200 people maximum

    • This event combines our three pillars as we are providing:

      • Backcountry Exploration: 3 Guided Exploration excursions

      • History: 6 Guided history tours (guided walking tour), 2 historical workshops (Mojave Road), 2 historic museums (mining and schoolhouse), 8 historic demonstrations (Stamp Mill operations and Blacksmithing), and Interactive Activity (Panning for Gold)

      • Physical Site: Base camp, Depot Archive and Library; and on-site tours, workshop, and demonstrations

  • Spring Encampment – 29 April – 1 May

    • Volunteer Event to address onsite projects and improvements

  • Camel Trek – 6-8 May

    • Paid Event with limited attendance

    • Exploration: No one ever said exploration had to be by vehicle. Camels on The Mojave Road

    • History: Trekking the Camels over a portion of the Old Mojave Road in historic tribute to the Cavalry days of old – relive 1863

  • Rendezvous – 6-9 October

    • Working committee is already formed and working on making this the biggest and best Rendezvous in our history

  • Monthly Events

    • Discussions are in progress to identify small, easy to host monthly members-only events at Goffs. More on this in the future as developments and ideas progress.


Call for Volunteers
I hope what you gathered from all of that, is that your Board has been extremely active to do exactly what I said we’d do – which is leave no stone unturned to facilitate this turn around and position the MDHCA for strategic viability into the foreseeable future. There is a lot that has been done, a lot being done, and even more to do. To be successful, we need your help. From the committees I listed above, you can see that not all volunteering revolves around physical labor at Goffs, some of it can be joining the Membership committee and helping to call former members or participate in a membership campaign. Some can be contributing artistic or journalistic skills; some could be being a museum or bookstore docent. If you want to help in any way, just reach out to us and we will find a place for you.

Wrapping this up, I and the Board thank you for your strong show of support as we navigate these waters. We are still in stormy seas, but there is now a Captain at the helm and a solid crew manning the stations. We have charted a course and now we are sailing into waters that appear to be calmer on the horizon. There are so many more things going on that are not quite at the update stage yet, but they are exciting and meaningful, and will move the needle. Keep in mind, that everything we are doing is for the benefit of the MDHCA, no individual, and that not one single part of our Mission Statement gets ignored or diminished. The goal is to bring it all together, up level it, and then let the world know about it.

You have my thanks and gratitude for your support.

In Exploration,


Happy New Year and Greetings!!

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Billy Creech and I am proud to be the newly elected MDHCA President. I’d also like to introduce your new Board Officers: Vice President – Bill Slutter, Treasurer – Darelyn Casebier, and Secretary – TBD. A huge Thank You to outgoing officers, though still on the Board of Directors: Andy Cohrs, Jackie Ridge, and Larry Vredenburgh. Rounding out the Board of Directors are Loris Mitchell, Rick Nisbet, Jim Donatz, and John Fishell.

As the title of this indicates, changes are happening at the MDHCA, some big and some small, they are all important, and there are many. Some of the changes aren’t changes at all, like this letter to you, but are just getting back to how some things used to be. However, in the 21st Century, there are changes that must be embraced for us to be able to not only survive, but to bring to bear all the MDHCA has to offer and become a truly valuable and strategically thriving organization as we navigate our way into the future.

The last Goffsgram we sent to you centered on our financial condition as a catalyst for a lot of this change – and that is being included in this mailing to reinforce the message that we have to change many things about how we’ve traditionally operated in order to regain a solid financial foothold and become relevant to a much larger audience.

Change does not mean that traditions or our original practices are discarded, far from it. In many cases, it means actually getting back to our original roots and remembering where we came from. Rekindling and strengthening relationships with government agencies and other like associations, bringing back our desert exploration and conservation activities, and celebrating our achievements and reminding the world what was accomplished out of our little nook of this amazing planet. But, it also means taking that explorer’s spirit to heart and stepping into the unknown and testing out our abilities in uncharted waters. Using relationships and technology to expose our message and offerings to the world, cutting costs, generating revenue, and expanding into new activities that are complementary to our mission in order to attract new members and excite existing ones.

We all have one thing in common – a love for and desire to see the MDHCA thrive. Please read, and then re-read the financial condition statement. Really understand it, and then think about how you can help us accomplish our all-important goals – and then act on it.

Your Board will be as transparent as possible with our performance. We will be setting goals for membership growth, revenue growth, cost reductions, activities and events, accessibility, and fundraising. We will do everything in our power to say what we do, and do what we say.

A fundamental business rule is that a crisis is the catalyst for change, and those who refuse to change will soon find themselves out of business. We are responding aggressively to this crisis and changing everything that needs to be changed in order to position ourselves for success. We are identifying things that don’t work, areas that could work better, and embracing new opportunities – and where those drive change, we are changing. I have no intention of failure and I’m in this fight, as are the rest of the Board members – we are asking you to join us by offering your skills, ideas, time, or even just your understanding when you hear of something changing that you may have held dear – understand it is for a reason, not just for the sake of change.

I promise you, there will be no better time to be a member!

In Exploration,


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