Mojave Trails National Monument

Proposed Mojave Trails National Monument
Proposed Mojave Trails National Monument; © David Meyers

Size: Approximately 941,413 acres

Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Location: Located in the East Mojave Desert, between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve

Maps: BLM Desert Access Guides

Landscape and History

The Mojave Trails National Monument would preserve one of California’s most beloved deserts by linking Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve. One of North America’s most unique landscapes, the Mojave Desert is home to desert tortoises and bighorn sheep. National Monument status would protect the existing uses of these lands for outdoor recreation, a national scenic highway, exploring outstanding geology, and wildlife corridors between national parks and congressionally declared wilderness areas. The existing uses are recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of California, San Bernardino County, neighboring cities, and environmental and recreational user groups. These uses are the result of decades of planning and public participation.

A vast array of national treasures would be bundled into the Mojave Trails National Monument. The Wildlands Conservancy donated $45 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior to acquire, connect, and protect these lands. The Mojave Trails National Monument would ratify this protection. These treasures include:

  • Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness — California’s largest cactus garden;
  • Kelso Dunes Wilderness — one of a few sand dune complexes on earth where the blowing sands make the sound of a cello;
  • Pisgah Lava Flow — the most researched area in North America for effects of volcanism on evolution;
  • Amboy Crater — a National Natural Landmark;
  • Sleeping Beauty Valley — the last intact valley representing the West Mojave plant associations;
  • Marble Mountains Fossil Beds — site of 550 million‐year-old fossils of trilobytes, which were among the first animals on earth with eyes and a skeleton;
  • Wildlife and recreational corridors that connect two national parks and 13 wilderness areas — a refuge for campers and explorers, bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and fringe-toed lizards.

The monument would preserve the most pristine, undeveloped remaining stretch of historic Route 66, the Mother Road, which is arguably the most famous highway in America – perhaps in the world. Created in 1926 as part of the nation’s first system of federal highways, Route 66 became popular as the shortest, best‐weather route across the country. Linking Chicago to Santa Monica, it helped transform America into the automobile‐oriented society it is today. Through literature (John Steinbeck), film, television and song, it became an international icon. In 2008, the World Monuments Fund designated Route 66, along with such world heritage sites as Machu Picchu and Shanghai, as a threatened resource on their “Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.” The March 2009 Smithsonian Magazine recognizes Route 66 as one of the “15 Must‐See Endangered Cultural Treasures.”

The Mojave Trails National Monument will bring clarity to our national renewable energy policy. It will help concentrate renewable energy development away from pristine public lands to consolidated federal Solar Energy Study Areas (SESA) that are along existing transmission lines. These Bureau of Land Management SESAs are outside the monument boundary and are large enough to double California’s 33% renewable energy goal.

For More Information

David Myers, Executive Director, The Wildlands Conservancy
(909) 797-8507

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