The Wilderness Society joins local veterans and business owners in praising President Obama for protecting Fort Ord in California

Apr 20, 2012

The Wilderness Society applauds the president for preserving this cultural and natural treasure by using the Antiquities Act

The Wilderness Society today applauded President Obama on designating Fort Ord National Monument. The designation of the Fort was trumpeted as a top issue by local and national veterans, local business owners, elected officials, conservationists and recreation enthusiasts.  The California delegation -- consisting of Congressman Sam Farr (CA-17) and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer -- all urged the protection of Fort Ord.

“The Wilderness Society applauds President Obama for listening to the people who want to protect Fort Ord for the enjoyment of future generations,” said William H. Meadows president of The Wilderness Society. "Fort Ord draws people from all walks of life to its cultural, historical and natural wonders, and thanks to the leadership from people near and afar, this place will be forever protected.”

Fort Ord, a former Army base near Monterey California, served as a training facility for roughly 1.5 million Americans. The area has nearly 15,000 acres of coastal oak woodlands, marine chaparral, scenic grasslands and ephemeral pools. These coastal public lands house 35 rare animal and plant species and 86 miles of trails open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. All of this makes Fort Ord is a strong contributor to the tourism sector of the county, which employs 24,000 people and attracts eight million visitors annually who spend roughly $2 billion there.

“Many of the soldiers who went through Basic and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Ord lost their lives in service to our country. In memory of the soldiers who did not return home to their family and friends, I would like to thank President Obama for honoring them for answering our Nation’s call and for recognizing their contributions and sacrifices in war,” said Gordon Smith, Vietnam Veteran and past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5888, Santa Cruz.

The designation will protect the Fort as an important part of our national history, and marks the President Obama’s second use of the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act has been used to designate and protect national monuments by 16 presidents -- both Republican and Democratic -- since it was enacted by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. All of the presidents who used the Antiquities Act have had the foresight to employ this bipartisan tool to protect some of our nation’s most treasured natural and cultural wonders, like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.

A large step toward critical conservation in the U.S., The Wilderness Society is excited that the designation of Fort Ord as a national monument is another step in President Obama’s efforts to work with people on the ground to continue the tradition of preserving America’s most valued natural and historical places.  The designation of Fort Ord as a national monument ensures that this important and living part of American history will be upheld for future generations.