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For Immediate Release, May 14, 2008

Contact: Randy Serraglio, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 784-1504

Sonoran Desert National Monument to Receive
Some Protection From Off-road Vehicle Abuse

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity commends the Bureau of Land Management for moving to protect the Sonoran Desert National Monument from off-road vehicle abuse. The agency will close approximately 89 miles of routes that allow access to 55,000 acres for motorized use. But the ongoing damage from off-road vehicles extends over many tens of thousands of acres on the monument that are not subject to the announced closure order.

“The vehicle closure is welcome news, but the Bureau of Land Management should be doing a lot more to protect the national monument,” said Randy Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Off-road vehicles still have unfettered access to over 500 miles of routes and 270,000 acres on the monument. The agency is obligated to protect all of these lands from motorized abuse.”

President William Clinton’s proclamation establishing the Sonoran Desert National Monument declared it to be “a magnificent example of untrammeled Sonoran Desert landscape. The area encompasses a functioning desert ecosystem with an extraordinary array of biological, scientific, and historic resources. The most biologically diverse of the North American deserts, the monument consists of distinct mountain ranges separated by wide valleys, and includes large saguaro cactus forest communities that provide excellent habitat for a wide range of wildlife species."

The monument contains habitat for several imperiled species, including the desert bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn, desert tortoise, lesser long-nosed bat, cave myotis, and cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl.

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