Three new national monuments to be announced by President Obama today in California will protect some 1.8 million acres of land, creating the second-largest protected desert preserve in the world, the Washington Post reports.
Obama will announce the creation of the Sand to Snow National Monument, the Mojave Trails Nations Monument, and the Castle Mountains National Monument today in Palm Springs, The Palm Springs Desert Sun writes:
The Sand to Snow National Monument will stretch from the desert floor near Palm Springs to the peak of Mount San Gorgonio in the San Bernardino National Forest, comprising 154,000 acres. The Mojave Trails National Monument, which spans 1.6 million acres, will surround historic Route 66, between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park. The Castle Mountains National Monument will fill a 21,000-acre gap in the Mojave National Preserve, protecting a rare desert grassland teeming with Joshua trees.
"Building on the Administration’s commitment to protect our land and water, today’s designations will nearly double the number of acres of public lands previously protected as national monuments by President Obama—demonstrating the Administration’s strong commitment to aggressive action to protect the environment for future generations," the White House said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been pushing for the move in an effort to include land that was left out of the California Desert Protection Act, which was passed in 1994, which designated Joshua Tree and Death Valley as national parks, according to the L.A. Times.