A preservation trio in the California desert
Today President Obama used the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate three new national monuments in the California desert: Mojave Trails National Monument, Sand to Snow National Monument and Castle Mountains National Monument.
The new protected areas will connect Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve and 15 congressionally-designated wilderness areas. In combination, the tracts will create a 10 million-acre desert ecosystem that will provide critical corridors for species with lengthy ranges including mountain lions and bighorn sheep.
The new monuments cover canyons and dunes, rock spires and petroglyphs, Joshua Trees and Cholla cacti, and 30 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
As detailed in a White House blog today:
Mojave Trails NM: “Spanning 1.6 million acres, including 400,000 acres of previously congressionally-designated Wilderness, the Mojave Trails National Monument is comprised of a stunning mosaic of rugged mountain ranges, ancient lava flows, and spectacular sand dunes.”
Sand to Snow NM: “Encompassing 154,000 acres, including just over 100,000 acres of already congressionally-designated Wilderness, Sand to Snow National Monument is an ecological and cultural treasure and one of the most biodiverse areas in southern California, supporting more than 240 species of birds and 12 threatened and endangered wildlife species.”
Castle Mountains NM: “The 20,920-acre monument will serve as a critical connection between two mountain ranges, protecting water resources, plants, and wildlife such as golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and bobcats.”
Of the designations, the president said, “…it’s our responsibility to protect these treasures for future generations, just as previous generations protected them for us.”
Photo of the Mojave Trails National Monument courtesy DOI.