Por la Creación Faith-based Alliance, which develops stewards of God’s creation by educating and engaging this generation to leave a legacy for the future, sent a joint letter to President Obama encouraging him to use his powers under the Antiquities Act to designate three new national monuments: Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails and Castle Mountain. The full letter can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/1L9lMKb
As the Alliance explained in the letter, “The California desert is facing many threats — proposals to export groundwater from desert aquifers, air pollution, rapid community development and encroachments from renewable energy developments — that risk the future of this region and could have irreversible consequences. As pastors from the California desert, we appreciate not only the natural beauty that surrounds our communities, but we also acknowledge the need to care and protect these areas for future generations.”
“Our clean water, wildlife habitat, cultural treasures and public lands are entrusted to us to be protected and preserved for the next generation. Our land, water, and wildlife are gifts from God, and it is our moral responsibility to care for these gifts. We should respect and live in harmony with all of God’s creation. “
While there is still hope that Congress will act on the California desert, like it recently did in creating the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Area, the President’s action would ensure that exceptional characteristics of the proposed national monuments are protected.
Mojave Trails, which includes 200,000 private acres donated to the federal government for conservation in perpetuity, the largest land gift of its kind in American history, is the connective tissue linking Mojave National Preserve to Joshua Tree National Park and existing Wilderness Areas, providing vital habitat for sensitive wildlife and includes unspoiled desert vistas and important Native American cultural sites.
Sand to Snow protects some of the most diverse habitat in the country, linking the San Gorgonio Wilderness to Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest. Sand to Snow is home to the most botanically diverse mountains in the contiguous U.S., a 23-mile stretch of the famed Pacific Crest Trail, and the majestic Whitewater River—a beloved feature for local and national communities.
The Castle Mountains protects some of the finest Joshua tree, pinon pine, and juniper forests in the entire California Desert Conservation Area. It encompasses native desert grassland, features stunning vistas of California and Nevada desert mountain ranges, including Nevada’s Spirit Mountain, which is revered by southwestern Native American tribes and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The California desert is crucial to the majority of local economies, to the health and quality life of Latinos, to our cultural heritage, and to the spiritual well-being of the community. This is why we have been active in educating our communities about protecting this region. In the past two years, we have led hikes, events and camping trips for Latino community leaders, youth and families at Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, San Jacinto Mountains and The Living Desert.”