Press Release Mar 21, 2023

Victory: President Biden Establishes Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada

"Establishment of Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is a testimony to protecting and preserving lands with not just our children and grandchildren in mind but for generations to come." - Theresa Pierno, NPCA's President and CEO

Washington DC – President Biden established Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in southern Nevada today, during the White House Conservation in Action Summit. Avi Kwa Ame National Monument preserves some of the most visually stunning, biologically diverse, and culturally significant lands in the Mojave Desert.

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“President Biden’s establishment of Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is a testimony to protecting and preserving lands with not just our children and grandchildren in mind but for generations to come,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). “Avi Kwa Ame National Monument honors the Native Americans who have long called for preservation of their cultural heritage, and we are grateful to the President for taking historic action. Amid the worsening climate crisis, the long-term health of Joshua trees and other plants and wildlife in this region is inextricably linked to conserving critical lands,” continued Pierno. “Avi Kwa Ame National Monument furthers our country’s desert conservation legacy and connects a vibrant, rich landscape that stretches from Lake Mead in Nevada to Mojave National Preserve, encompassing other treasured California desert parks.”

“I am honored to attend today’s White House ceremony and see the hard work by so many people recognized with this monumental action,” said Neal Desai, senior program director at the National Parks Conservation Association. “When considered as a whole, this vast and connected network of public lands from the Mojave Desert to Colorado Plateau represents one of the greatest desert conservation reserves in the world and is a significant contribution towards fighting climate change.”

Avi Kwa Ame, the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain and the surrounding landscape, is sacred to twelve tribes, including the 10 Yuman-speaking tribes who pay reverence to Spirit Mountain as the center of their creation.

“I started working on this effort two decades ago, when I worked at the National Park Service to designate the Spirit Mountain Traditional Cultural Property,” said Alan O’Neill, advisor to the National Parks Conservation Association and retired superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. “President Biden’s action today follows through on long-standing requests by tribes to permanently protect the sacred Avi Kwa Ame landscape. This monument is also the missing link that would connect the eastern Mojave Desert to the Colorado Plateau, providing space and elevation for this thriving ecosystem to adapt to the impacts from climate change.”

For decades, tribal members have called for permanent protection, along with local governments including Clark County, Boulder City, Searchlight and Laughlin, advocacy groups including NPCA and a broad array of public land users. And at 506,814 acres, the national monument establishment moves our country closer to achieving the global goal and Biden Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative to preserve lands and waterways.

“NPCA has been privileged to work with tribes and partners in Nevada and beyond for more than a decade in support of protecting this irreplaceable landscape,” said Theresa Pierno. “We also thank members of Nevada’s congressional delegation for supporting this designation, including the significant contributions by Congresswoman Dina Titus.”

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit

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