Route 66 and the California Desert: Let's Protect the "Mother Road"

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Route 66 and the California Desert: Let's Protect the "Mother Road"

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Historic Route 66 is as American as apple pie, and is just one of many reasons why it's time to protect the California desert.

California's Mojave desert "is a land that we own that we don't really take advantage of," says Jim Conkle, a Route 66 historian and preservationist. "People don't drive through because … there's no reason to. With [permanent protections], there'll be a lot of reasons."

Californians and other Americans—as well as visitors from all over the world—have long been drawn to the California desert's painted mountains, diverse wildlife, Native American petroglyphs, and rich history.

Now we have a historic opportunity to protect special places in the California desert that hold extraordinary historical, cultural, ecological, and economic value. After working for nearly a decade on legislative efforts to protect the California Desert, we are turning to President Obama to designate the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains areas as national monuments.

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