"LONE PINE, Calif. — Botanist Maria Jesus has made a career out of trying to protect wild places where rare plants are making their last stand, and field work can mean bivouacking alone in a pup tent.
Take the Inyo rock daisy, which only grows in the crevices of cliff walls in two largely roadless areas of the southern Inyo Mountains near Death Valley National Park.
One is Conglomerate Mesa, a 22,500-acre chunk of piñon pines, rock spires and tilted beds of limestone. It’s also where K2 Gold Corp., of Vancouver, Canada, is drilling and trenching on public lands in hopes of laying the groundwork for a large-scale open pit mine.
The other is near privately-owned land in the nearby historic Cerro Gordo Mining District, which was recently sold to investors with plans to develop a ghost town into a tourist attraction."