Obama Designates 3 National Monuments in California Desert

President Barack Obama proclaimed three national monuments in the California desert on Feb. 12, capping nearly a decade of work by local leaders to ensure continued recreational opportunities, benefit to local economies, and conservation of the region's beauty. Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains total nearly 1.8 million acres.

Here are just a few of the reasons to celebrate this groundbreaking conservation news:

  • These three national monuments will permanently protect public lands in the California desert for future generations. The conserved, connected habitat will ensure the continued enjoyment of recreational activities such as camping, hunting, and hiking, and also help buffer the desert—and its wildlife and communities—from a changing climate.
  • Public lands in the California desert contribute significantly to the region’s tourism economy—these national monuments will bring more attention and visitors to the area.  In 2014, more than 3.2 million people visited Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and the Mojave National Preserve, adding $194 million to the region's economy and supporting over 2,700 jobs, according to the National Park Service.
  • These new monuments are an important part of a broader approach by federal, state, and local agencies to integrate land and wildlife conservation with the development of renewable energy sources in the California desert.

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