Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Call for New Monuments in the California Desert Timely and Broadly Supported

Aug 22, 2015
Presidential action under the Antiquities Act would provide permanent protection while providing important economic benefits

The Wilderness Society and the Campaign for the California Desert commend Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for calling on President Obama to designate the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments, safeguarding important natural resources, historic trails, Native American cultural areas, recreational opportunities and portions of historic Route 66. National monument designations will mean that these landscapes will be forever protected and accessible by visitors.

Conservation of public lands in the California Desert has already brought striking economic benefits to the region. Visitors to Death Valley and Joshua National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve contributed $165 million to the region’s economy in 2013, supporting nearly 2,000 jobs. In San Bernardino County, visitors overall generated $52.5 million in local tax receipts in 2010, providing much needed revenue to the county and cities.

“Local elected officials, business owners, veterans, faith leaders, anglers, conservationists and others have long voiced support for protection of these extraordinary desert treasures,” said Dan Smuts, California Senior Regional Director at The Wilderness Society. “We want to use every tool available to protect these lands for future generations, including national monument designations from President Obama.”

Many local communities that provide lodging, restaurants, gas stations, stores and other travel businesses in the surrounding areas strongly support the designation of Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments because of the permanent protection it would bring to their precious desert landscapes.

Senator Feinstein’s call for the creation of new national monuments comes after nearly a decade of legislative effort to protect these increasingly threatened desert landscapes, including her recent reintroduction of a bill, cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), which would create two new national monuments and expand Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks and the Mojave National Preserve. The bill would also establish several new wilderness areas in Death Valley National Park and on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service, and offer protection to rare waterways, such as Deep Creek and the Amargosa River, which provide sources of clean drinking water to local communities.

Contacts:
Matt Keller, National Monuments Campaign Director, (970) 946-0906, matt_keller@tws.org
Dan Smuts, Senior Regional Director – California, 415-398-1420, dan_smuts@tws.org

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org