New National Monument Proposed South of Joshua Tree

The 700,000 acre monument would protect threatened species and important historic and cultural sites.

1 minute read

October 31, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of desert mountains with yucca plant and cholla in foreground

MightyPix / Mojave Desert

A proposed national monument in the Southern California desert would span close to 700,000 acres just south of Joshua Tree National Park, reports Monserrat Solis for the Press-Enterprise. “The proposed Chuckwalla National Monument — named for the lizard found in the Sonoran and Mojave Desert and northwestern Mexico — would need a presidential order or a vote by Congress to become reality.”

Supporters of the proposal, which is backed by organizations including the California Wilderness Coalition and the CactusToCloud Institute, say the monument would be “a resource for the community” and protect historic and cultural sites as well as wilderness and wildlife. “Separate from the monument, the campaign also seeks to add about 20,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land southeast of Joshua Tree in Riverside County to the national park. It would be open for development, mining or road construction and was once used for small-scale mining.”

Unlike national parks, national monuments can be created by executive order under the Antiquities Act of 1906. A blog post from the National park Service explains that while “national parks are created for educational, inspirational and recreational purposes,” national monuments are generally preserved for their historic or scientific value.

The campaign for the new monument now needs to gain support from its local congressional representative.

Sunday, October 30, 2022 in The Press-Enterprise

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