President Designates Three New National Monuments in California

The White House announcement said President Obama has now protected more than 265 million acres of land and water, the most among all U.S. presidents.

President Obama on Feb. 12 designated three new national monuments in California that together span nearly 1.8 million acres and nearly double the acreage of public lands the president has previously protected, the White House announced. The three are the Mojave Trails National Monument, Sand to Snow National Monument, and Castle Mountains National Monument.

The announcement also said Obama has now protected more than 265 million acres of land and water, the most among all U.S. presidents.

Mojave Trails National Monument fills 1.6 million acres, including 400,000 acres of previously congressionally designated wilderness, and the photo illustrating this article is from that monument, which includes rugged mountain ranges, ancient lava flows, and sand dunes.

Sand to Snow consists of 154,000 acres, some 100,000 of which are congressionally designated wilderness. It is one of the most biodiverse areas in southern California, supporting more than 240 species of birds and 12 threatened and endangered wildlife species, according to the White House.

Castle Mountains' 20,920 acres "will serve as a critical connection between two mountain ranges, protecting water resources, plants, and wildlife such as golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and bobcats," its states.

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