Quantcast
Insights

Victory: Obama Protects 1.8 million Acres of California Desert

California famously has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to landscapes: spectacular mountains, unique redwood forests and a coastline that ranges from idyllic beaches to rocky cliffs. But as many a lottery winner can tell you, even the most fabulous wealth can be squandered all too easily if one isn't careful. And once you've lost an ancient forest, an unspoiled coastline or a pristine desert, it's impossible to get it back.

That's why it's great news that President Obama has picked up where Congress left off more than 20 years ago when it passed the California Desert Protection Act. The newly designated Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments protect parts of the Mojave and Sonoran wilderness that were being squeezed by growing populations in both southeastern California and southern Nevada as well as facing threats from mining and other industries.

Once considered hostile wastelands to be crossed as quickly as possible, the deserts of California are valued today for their austere grandeur, unique wildlife and (when the rains come, as they have this year) incredible wildflower displays. Supporting a thriving local tourism industry, millions of visitors each year visit Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve. These lands are an irreplaceable part of our outdoor heritage and if you've never visited them, then you are in for a treat when you do. My family has taken some of our most memorable camping trips throughout this beautiful region.

The new national monuments contain both cultural and natural riches. They encompass ancient trade routes of indigenous Americans, as well as historic Route 66. They provide essential habitat for desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagles and a host of migratory bird species. In fact, the striking landscapes that have been protected include not only deserts but also wetlands, woodlands and mountain vistas. They provide first-class opportunities for hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, snowshoeing and skiing.

The new monuments will also provide much-needed wildlife corridors between the San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park, which will make it easier for plants and animals that are struggling to adapt both to climate change and encroaching urbanization. They will never know who was responsible for giving them a chance to survive, but we do.

Take a moment to thank President Obama for preserving these irreplaceable lands for generations to come.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Despite Supreme Court Decision, Clean Energy Revolution Continues to Grow

17 House Democrats Introduce ‘Keep It In the Ground Act’ to Prohibit New Fossil Fuel Extraction on Public Lands

8 Things California Gov. Brown Doesn’t Want You to Know

Cities Unleash Secret Underground Weapon to Become Clean Energy Powerhouses

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular
Robert Vessels

Fly Fishing in Yellowstone: How One Veteran Found a New Life in the Outdoors

By Lindsey Robinson

Evan Bogart never wanted to sleep in a tent again. Between 2004-2011, he'd served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman and spent three long combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He'd spent a good portion of his years in service living in a tent in hot and hazardous deserts. He'd had enough of the outdoors; he wanted to be in places with air conditioning, electricity and no reminders of the war-torn lands he had experienced.

Evan separated in 2011 as an E6 Squad Leader, with an honorable discharge and two Purple Hearts. But his own heart was heavy and troubled. He'd become disillusioned with the U.S. military and its goals in the Middle East. The violence and destruction he'd witnessed left him feeling both angry and guilty. He distinctly remembers one moment in Iraq: "An old woman told me I was a bad man, and I realized I agreed with her."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Make A Change World

How Two Brothers Convinced the Indonesian Government to Clean Up the World's Most Polluted River

By Gary Bencheghib and Sam Bencheghib

On August 14, we set out to kayak down the world's most polluted river, the Citarum River located in Indonesia, to document and raise awareness about the highly toxic chemicals in its waters and the masses of plastics floating on its surface.

We paddled a total of 68km in two weeks on two plastic bottle kayaks from the village of Majalaya, located just south of Bandung to Pantai Bahagia, the river mouth at the Java Sea. Each kayak was made of 300 plastic bottles to demonstrate that trash can have a second life.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

General Motors to Run Ohio, Indiana Factories With 100% Wind P​ower

By Greg Alvarez

Last week I predicted it wouldn't be long before we had more news on Fortune 500 wind power purchases. Well, a whole seven days passed before there were new deals to report.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts (S.C.U.T.E) unearthed three baby loggerheads after a nest inventory at Pawleys Island beach. Lorraine Chow

Sea Turtle Population Rebounding But Many Threats Remain

A new study published in Science Advances has found that most global sea turtles populations are recovering after historical declines.

The results from the analysis suggest that conservation programs actually work, and why we must defend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that protects vulnerable plants and animals, and is currently under attack by political and business interests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
www.youtube.com

Baby Rhino Brings New Hope to India’s Manas National Park

A baby rhino spotted alongside its mother in Manas National Park, located in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, is an encouraging new sign that the rhino population in the protected area is on the upswing. The mother, named Jamuna, was rescued as a calf from Kaziranga National Park, located about 200 miles east of Manas and raised at the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation, a facility that cares for injured or orphaned wild animals run by Wildlife Trust of India/International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Assam Forest Department. She was moved to the Manas in 2008 as part of the country's rhino conservation efforts.

The calf is her second since 2013—a positive indication that despite concerns due to poaching of mature males, rhinos in Manas are reproducing.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Cedar Mesa Valley of the Gods in the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Bob Wick, BLM

Navajo Nation Readies Legal Action if Trump Shrinks Bears Ears National Monument

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's recommendation to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah could spark a legal battle between the Navajo Nation and the Trump administration.

"We are prepared to challenge immediately whatever official action is taken to modify the monument or restructure any aspect of that, such as the Bears Ears Commission," Ethel Branch, Navajo Nation attorney general, told Reuters.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Jilson Tiu / Greenpeace

Nestlé, Unilever, P&G Among Worst Offenders for Plastic Pollution in Philippines Beach Audit

A week-long beach clean up and audit at Freedom Island in Manila Bay has exposed the companies most responsible for plastic pollution in the critical wetland habitat and Ramsar site—one of the worst locations for plastic pollution in the Philippines.

The Greenpeace Philippines and #breakfreefromplastic movement audit, the first of its kind in the country, revealed that Nestlé, Unilever and Indonesian company PT Torabika Mayora are the top three contributors of plastic waste discovered in the area, contributing to the 1.88 million metric tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste in the Philippines per year.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
www.youtube.com

Arkansas Plant Board Backs Dicamba Ban Next Summer in Blow to Monsanto

The Arkansas Plant Board has approved new regulations that prohibit the use of dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31, 2018 after receiving nearly 1,000 complaints of pesticide misuse in the state.

Arkansas, which temporarily banned the highly volatile weedkiller in July, could now face legal action from Monsanto, the developers of dicamba-resistant soybeans or cotton and the corresponding pesticide, aka the Xtend crop system.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox