Last year, President Obama protected some of our country’s most spectacular and unique desert lands by designating three national new national monuments. Now, the Department of the Interior could attempt to alter or revoke federal protections for two of these important places.
President Obama’s designation of Castle Mountains, Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments in February 2016 was the culmination of nearly a decade of work by countless advocates to ensure the California desert gets the protection it deserves. These monuments create one of the world’s largest desert reserves, protecting vital wildlife connectivity corridors and habitat, and preserving the historic and cultural resources of the region.
NPCA is adamantly opposed to any attempts to rescind or alter the size of any one of our country’s national monuments. An attack on one of America’s national monuments is an attack on all of them, and the history these places represent.
The California desert is one of the most pristine and unique landscapes in the country, but it is sandwiched between the rapidly growing Las Vegas and Los Angeles Metropolitan regions and threatened by inappropriate development, competing recreational demands and limited water resources. From painted mountains to archaeological treasures, world-famous wildflowers to herds of bighorn sheep, Americans have long been drawn to its stark beauty.
Preserving these areas ensures that the tapestry of public lands in the desert, which include core protected areas like Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley National Park, remain places where wildlife has room to roam, people can enjoy outdoor recreation and tourism-based businesses can thrive.
From the sweeping vistas atop towering Hart Mountain to the rocky canyons and sandy washes of the valley floor below, Castle Mountains National Monument celebrates the spirit of adventure, inspiration…See more ›
Each of the national monuments contains exceptional characteristics. Mojave Trails is the connective tissue linking Mojave National Preserve to Joshua Tree National Park and existing wilderness areas, providing vital habitat for sensitive wildlife, and unspoiled desert vistas. Sand to Snow protects some of the most diverse habitat in the country, linking the San Gorgonio Wilderness to Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest. Castle Mountain protects some of the finest Joshua tree, pinon pine and juniper forests in the entire California Desert Conservation Area and features stunning vistas of California and Nevada desert mountain ranges, including Nevada’s Spirit Mountain, which is revered by southwestern Native American tribes.
These national monuments help raise the profile of the California desert as a destination for recreation and tourism in the region, bringing economic benefits and jobs to surrounding communities. The new monuments also benefit public health by enhancing opportunities for recreation and encouraging healthy lifestyles, preserving the vibrant but fragile desert ecosystem, protecting Native American cultural sites, and providing peace and respite for our honored veterans by protecting General Patton’s World War II training sites along Route 66, America’s storied Mother Road.
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