Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 25, 2023

Contact:

Ileene Anderson, (323) 490-0223, ianderson@biologicaldiversity.org

Biden Urged to Establish New California National Monument, Expand Joshua Tree National Park

COACHELLA, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity joined local Tribes, businesses, communities and conservation groups today to urge President Biden to establish Chuckwalla National Monument and expand Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

The proposal would create a 660,000-acre national monument and add 17,000 acres to Joshua Tree National Park, both located in eastern Riverside County. The stunning Chuckwalla Mountains and adjacent Mecca Hills are rich in biological diversity and home to desert tortoises, kit foxes, golden eagles and the proposed monument’s namesake chuckwallas.

“I’ve waited a long time for this happy day, when the beauty, biodiversity and amazing topography of this area are finally recognized,” said Ileene Anderson, senior scientist and California deserts director at the Center. “I’m grateful to all the supporters of the proposed new monument and national park expansion. Together we’re urging President Biden to use the Antiquities Act to designate these areas for greater protection and public enjoyment. This would honor cultural landscapes and be a magnificent gift to future generations.”

These stunning public lands within the California Desert Conservation Area are remote and rugged, harboring palm oases, unique desert wash woodlands and 360-degree vistas. The lands will preserve key wildlife migration linkages between Joshua Tree National Park and conservation areas south of the proposed Chuckwalla monument, which because of climate change are more critical than ever.

The designations will help achieve the national America the Beautiful goals of conserving 30% of the nation’s natural landscapes by 2030.

These landscapes have been part of local Tribes’ historical territories from time immemorial. The cultural resources and landscapes are irreplaceable and deserve the highest protection with tribal access, proponents say. Designating these lands for conservation and recreation also will help ensure that communities in the eastern Coachella Valley and surrounding areas have equal access to nature and recreation, a key factor in maintaining healthy communities.

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Mecca Hills Wilderness, California. Photo credit: U.S. Bureau of Land Management Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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