Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 12, 2015

Contact:  Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club, (804) 519-8449,
Joan Taylor, Sierra Club, (760) 408-2488
Stephanie Dashiell, Defenders of Wildlife, (310) 508-1607,
Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 654-5943,
Seth Shteir, National Parks Conservation Association, (760) 332-9776,

Thousands Voice Support for Proposed California Desert National Monuments

Momentum Grows for Permanent Protection

WHITEWATER, Calif.— From business leaders to recreationists and conservation groups to desert residents, almost 16,000 people have joined together in sending letters of support for permanent protection of some of the California desert's most spectacular landscapes, recreation areas and wildlife habitat.

Their calls to the Obama administration to permanently safeguard these areas culminate the day before Senator Feinstein, Obama administration officials and other leaders host a community meeting on the proposed Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains national monuments. The hearing will be Tuesday, Oct.13 at the Wildlands Conservancy in Whitewater, Calif.

“More than 20 years ago the California Desert Protection Act raised the profile of California's magnificent deserts. We now have an opportunity to continue the vision of permanently protecting the austere grandeur and unique wildlife of our desert,” said Joan Taylor, vice chair of the Sierra Club's California/Nevada Desert Committee. “People from across state, across the country, and even around the world come to experience the wonder of the California Desert. It's time to put Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments on the map.”

This most recent wave of public comments adds to those from elected officials, business owners, veterans, faith leaders and others who have banded together to push permanent California desert protections over the finish line after nearly a decade of public meetings and local input. Within the proposed monument areas are irreplaceable historic, cultural and natural wonders — from Historic Route 66 and American Indian petroglyphs to the threatened desert tortoise and the headwaters of the Santa Ana River.

“The California desert is home to some of the most treasured and imperiled plants and animals in America, including the threatened desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep. The habitat and wildlife corridors here are irreplaceable, and it is essential that this unique part of our country be protected, especially in the face of a changing climate,” said Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife director of California programs.

“These rugged, beautiful California landscapes and the awesome plants and animals that live there will greatly benefit from the protections national monument status will give them, especially as climate change advances,” said Ileene Anderson, a scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Designation of these areas as national monuments would protect the desert's natural beauty and enhance recreation opportunities; it would also be a boon to the local economy. Already Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks and other protected public desert lands contribute millions of dollars to the economy every year.

“The designation of the Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains National Monuments protect outstanding recreational opportunities, core habitat for iconic desert wildlife like bighorn sheep and desert tortoise, and a tapestry of public lands which preserve important wildlife corridors between the national parks, Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service managed lands,” said Seth Shteir, desert program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “The new monuments will also raise the profile of the California desert as a destination for tourism.”


The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated tothe protection of endangered species and wild places.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @defendersnews.

Together with our more than one million members and supporters, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) speaks for America’s national parks. Since our founding in 1919, NPCA has been an independent, nonpartisan voice working to strengthen and protect our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage. Learn more at and @npca.

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