Author Topic: New national monument could add to Basinís scenic spaces  (Read 1056 times)

Offline Peter Vahry

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New national monument could add to Basinís scenic spaces
« on: February 08, 2012, 04:35:20 am »
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 8:25 pm

By Courtney Vaughn Hi-Desert Star
MORONGO VALLEY ó On a quiet swath of land in Morongo Valley, wildflowers, boulders and sky stretch for miles. Water trickles down a hill, coating the pebbles below with moss.

The Little Morongo Canyon area is designated as federal wilderness area, but its designation leaves it vulnerable to competing interests.

Conservationists and a slew of supporters are hoping to change that.

The California Desert Protection Act of 2011, originally introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein in 2009, would designate the Morongo Valley wilderness area and all of Big Morongo Canyon and Whitewater preserves as a 133,524-acre Sand to Snow National Monument, while adding 2,904 acres to Joshua Tree National Park.

The federal act would set aside this land as well as nearly 1.6 million acres of other scenic and critical-wildlife land throughout California.

Monuments bring money, advocates say

The California Desert Protection Act of 2011 would be a huge accomplishment for conservationists, but advocates say the Sand to Snow Monument itself could be a boon for the Basin. Giving the land monument status would close it off to future development or threats to wildlife, but it would also keep activities like hunting, mining and off-road vehicle use intact.

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