Introducing the Protect California Deserts Campaign

Introducing the Protect California Deserts Campaign 1024 768 California Wilderness Coalition

We are thrilled to share some exciting news with you.  CalWild, together with a number of partner organizations, is launching a new campaign to conserve and protect additional public lands in California’s Mojave and Colorado Deserts and in the San Bernardino National Forest.  We have been quietly working behind the scenes on developing this campaign. Now it is time for us to get the word out about the Campaign and build support for it.

Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness

The campaign involves a legislative proposal for Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D., who represents the 36th Congressional District which is located in Riverside County.  We will be asking Rep. Ruiz to introduce legislation to accomplish the following:

  • Establish a national monument (temporarily named Chuckwalla National Monument) in the Chuckwalla Valley, south of Joshua Tree National Park. The proposed monument would span from the Mecca Hills Wilderness in the west to the Palo Verde Mountains in the west;
  • Designate two new wilderness areas and expand three existing wilderness areas;
  • Designate the San Bernardino County portion of Mission Creek as a Wild and Scenic River;
  • Expand Joshua Tree National Park into the Eagle Mountain area, pursuant to a 2016 National Park Service study;
  • Honor the work of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in Riverside County;
  • Protect World War II-era training sites; and
  • Call for a recreational needs study to be completed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, focused on quiet recreation opportunities – in particular in the Mecca Hills/Orocopia Mountains area.

A palm oasis in the Proposed National Monument

This legislative proposal would protect stunningly beautiful desert landscapes that hold palm oases, rocky mountain ranges, and lush desert woodlands, as well as important habitat for an incredible number of imperiled and rare species. For example, almost the entirety of the proposed Monument is critical habitat (determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) for the threatened California desert tortoise.  However, even more exciting is the fact that these protections will honor and recognize the Indigenous cultural histories of the Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Mohave, Quechan, and Serrano people who deeply value the lands within our legislative proposal.

We will provide more details about this campaign in the coming months and hope that you will join us in helping to support this campaign.  Please watch for an action alert in June to express your support for this campaign to Rep. Ruiz and encourage him to introduce our legislative proposal!

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