Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 5, 2016

Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 490-0223,

Interior Secretary Jewell, Senator Feinstein Join Hundreds to
Celebrate Three New California Desert National Monuments

WHITEWATER, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity, along with hundreds of local desert residents, elected officials, community and faith leaders, business owners, veterans and others, joined today with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to celebrate three new national monuments that President Obama designated in the Southern California desert. The declaration of Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments means 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 serve as a refuge for some of the rarest and most endangered plants and animals,” said Ileene Anderson with the Center. “The three new national monuments offer enduring protections for these places and allow future generations of all species to enjoy them — that’s a terrific reason to celebrate.”

The celebration event, held at the Whitewater Preserve in the Sand to Snow National Monument near Palm Springs, drew a crowd eager to mark the historic occasion and thank President Obama, Interior Secretary Jewell, Senator Feinstein and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for protecting California desert public lands. The Center will now work with the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture to ensure that the national monuments, and diversity of plants and animals within them, are well run and protected for future generations through the development of management plans.

About the National Monuments
The Mojave Trails National Monument preserves 1.6 million acres of diverse and striking desert lands and helps to 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 national monument are home to threatened desert tortoises, iconic desert bighorn sheep and many other desert dwellers. National monument status protects the existing uses of these lands for outdoor enjoyment and maintains key wildlife connections between Joshua Tree and the Mojave National Preserve 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. It contains more than 154,000 acres of diverse landscapes and habitats, including alpine peaks, Joshua tree woodlands, mountain vistas, rivers and wetlands, and desert. The area includes 25 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and the headwaters of Southern California’s longest river, the Santa Ana, 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 20,000-acre missing piece in the northern part of the Mojave National Preserve and provides vital habitat for golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain lions and bobcats. Castle Mountains offers unparalleled opportunities to study wildlife movements; it is home to sensitive bat species, and it is a target location for the reintroduction of pronghorn — the second-fastest land mammal in the world.

The Castle Mountains were originally left out of the Mojave National Preserve because of a large operational gold mine. The mine has since been reclaimed, and the Castle Mountains take their rightful place as a rugged addition to the conserved landscape.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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