Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 21, 2015

Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 654-5943,

Center for Biological Diversity Statement on Senator Feinstein's Call to
Designate New California Desert National Monuments

LOS ANGELES— The Center for Biological Diversity today applauded Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s call to designate three national monuments in the Southern California desert. Feinstein wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this month urging him to use the Antiquities Act to designate the Mojave Trails National Monument, the Sand to Snow National Monument and the Castle Mountains National Monument. National monument designations will mean that these special places will be forever protected and accessible to the public.

“California’s deserts include some of the most spectacular scenery in the nation and are a refuge for some of the most rare and endangered plants and animals,” said Ileene Anderson with the Center. “The Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments offer enduring protections for these places and would allow future generations to enjoy them.”

Sen. Feinstein’s letter to President Obama to make these national monument designations comes after nearly a decade of work on legislative efforts to protect the California desert. In permanently protecting these special places, the president would be following in the footsteps of nearly every president since 1906 — eight Republicans and eight Democrats — who have used the Antiquities Act to leave a legacy of national monuments more than 140 times. 

About the Proposed National Monuments

The Mojave Trails National Monument would preserve a diversity of striking desert lands and link Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. Named for the most pristine stretch of historic Route 66, with wide-open desert vistas, the lands in the proposed national monument are habitat for the threatened desert tortoises, iconic desert bighorn sheep and many other desert dwellers. National monument status would protect the existing uses of these lands for outdoor enjoyment and maintain key wildlife connections between national parks and wilderness areas. 

The Sand to Snow National Monument rises from the Sonoran Desert floor up to Southern California’s tallest mountain, Mount San Gorgonio. Its 135,000 acres contain a rich tapestry of landscapes and habitats including alpine peaks, Joshua tree woodlands, mountain vistas, rivers and wetlands, and desert lands. These lands include 25 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and the headwaters of Southern California’s longest river, the Santa Ana River, as well as the headwaters of the Whitewater River. World-class hiking, backpacking, wildlife and bird-watching are readily available throughout the seasons.

The Castle Mountains National Monument conserves a missing piece in the northern part of the Mojave National Preserve. The Castle Mountains were originally carved out of the Mojave National Preserve when it was established because of a large operational gold mine. The mine has since been reclaimed, and the Castle Mountains take their correct place as a rugged addition (29,000 acres) to the conserved landscape.

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

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