Friday, May 06, 2016

Sally Jewell, conservationists celebrate new monuments

For nearly two million acres of newly protected lands, "forever" starts now. California desert-lovers gathered at the Whitewater Preserve on Thursday to celebrate three new national monuments: Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains. President Barack Obama designated the monuments earlier this year, after Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s third attempt to protect the lands through legislation stalled in Congress. The monuments span from the desert floor near Palm Springs to the peak of Mt. San Gorgonio, and from historic Route 66 to rare desert grasslands surrounded by the Mojave National Preserve. They're home to a diverse array of plants and animals, some of which exist nowhere else in the world. "It’s so important that we work together to protect special places — not just now, not just for our children and grandchildren, but forever," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who choked back tears several times during her brief remarks at the Whitewater Preserve on Thursday. "That’s what’s been done here.” Jewell noted that the monuments create an unbroken corridor of protected lands stretching from the Angeles National Forest to the Nevada border. That corridor also includes the San Bernardino National Forest, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. Those lands, she said, "serve not only the people of Southern California and the world, frankly, but the critters that depend on these corridors for their lives."...more

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