CalWild Desert National Monuments Press Release

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HISTORIC DESIGNATION OF NEW CALIFORNIA DESERT NATIONAL MONUMENTS CELEBRATED BY DESERT COMMUNITIES

The California Wilderness Coalition joined local residents, and community, business and conservation leaders from California’s desert communities in celebrating the designation of the new Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments. President Obama officially designated those public lands today. National monument status means that these lands will be permanently protected from renewable energy development and other harmful development, while maintaining public access for recreation activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, star-gazing, and more.

“We are thrilled that President Obama designated these three new national monuments in our desert,” said Linda Castro, Southern California Organizer for the California Wilderness Coalition. “These places are excellent examples of the wildest remaining places in California. They are not only special for ecological reasons – but also for their cultural and historical values. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Feinstein and President Obama, our future generations will continue to be able to enjoy visiting the General Patton WWII training camp in the Mojave Trails National Monument; the beauty and serenity of camping in the Sand to Snow National Monument; and the majesty of Castle Mountain National Monument’s forests and peaks.”

The designation of the new national monuments had widespread and bipartisan support, with local elected officials and community leaders, business owners, Native Americans, veterans, Latino organizations, faith leaders, sportsmen, historians, artists, conservationists, and others calling for the protection of these unique and special places. A recent poll also showed overwhelming support from the public, with over 75% of California voters statewide and 70% in the desert region in favor of President Obama designating the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments.

“As a member of a family which has owned land and operated businesses in the Amargosa and Death Valley area for over 100 years, I’m overjoyed that President Obama designated these new national monuments,” added Susan Sorrells, owner and operator of Shoshone Village, a desert community and tourism destination. “Our region’s economy depends on tourism and outdoor recreational activities that take place in our unique and beautiful desert. Protecting these lands is a critical investment in our area’s economic future.”

“I applaud Senator Feinstein’s efforts and leadership in asking for the designation of these national monuments, which will protect lands that are currently important to our Tribe and our ancestral lands,” said Barbara Durham, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe.

The protection of the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments comes after nearly a decade of work by local leaders to protect the California desert. Last year, Senator Feinstein called on President Obama to designate the national monuments, building on years of effort to pass legislation protecting these places. Given Congress’ track record of inaction, the Senator and local community leaders and advocates pursued a dual track approach of both advocating for legislation and urging President Obama to take action. In doing so, the President followed in the footsteps of nearly every president since 1906 – eight Republicans and eight Democrats – who used the Antiquities Act more than 140 times to protect special places, including Joshua Tree and Death Valley.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2016
CONTACTS: Ryan Henson (530) 365-1455  — rhenson@calwild.org
Linda Castro (760) 221-4895 – lcastro@calwild.org

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The California Wilderness Coalition is a 501(c)3 statewide non-profit organization that protects the natural landscapes that make California unique, providing clean air and water, a home to wildlife, and a place for recreation and spiritual renewal. www.calwild.org