December 21, 2009

Legislation introduced to create national monuments in the Inland area

David Danelski
The Press-Enterprise

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, is introducing legislation today that would create two national monuments and protect more than a million acres of public land in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, her office announced.

"I strongly believe that conservation, renewable energy development and recreation can and must co-exist in the California Desert," Feinstein said in a news release. "This legislation strikes a careful balance between these sometimes competing concerns."

The bill would create the 941,000-acre Mojave Trails National Monument, encompassing dry lakes and other land on both sides of Interstate 40 between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve, in eastern San Bernardino County.

Another 134,000 acres would become the Sand to Snow National Monument, stretching from the floor on the Coachella Valley to the top of San Gorgonio Peak. It would include the Big Morongo and Whitewater canyons as well as the Pipes Canyon and Mission Creek preserves.

It also would add 41,000 acres to Death Valley National Park, 30,000 acres to the Mojave National Preserve and 2,900 acres to Joshua Tree National Park.