President Obama has designated three new national monuments, protecting roughly 1.8 million acres of BLM land in the California Desert. The three monuments will connect Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve to create the second largest protected landscape in the world. With this action, Obama has now preserved more acres of land and water than any other President.
The largest of the three is Mojave Trails National Monument, a 1.6-million-acre matrix of land along 100 miles of historic Route 66 that protects wildlife corridors between Death Valley and Joshua Tree. Sand to Snow National Monument preserves 154,000 acres between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest, and includes 24 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The 20,920-acre Castle Mountains National Monument preserves a ridge of desert peaks and rare grasslands roughly 100 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada.
After years of trying to move legislation through a dysfunctional Congress, California Senator Dianne Feinstein asked President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect the desert landscapes. Since 2008, The Conservation Alliance made a total of seven grants to California Wilderness Coalition and Conservation Lands Foundation for their efforts to secure protection for these lands. Both organizations played a key role in building local support for the protections, and guiding the project to success. We thank Senator Feinstein and President Obama for their leadership in protecting this important landscape.
President Obama has indicated his interest in protecting additional landscapes before he leaves office. The Conservation Alliance and our grantees will work hard throughout the year to demonstrate outdoor business support for saving these special places. We will keep you posted!
Meanwhile, please check out good stories in the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post for full details on our newest national monuments.