If passed, the California Desert Protection Act will protect over one million acres of the Mojave Desert’s last wild areas, with the creation of two new National Monuments: the Mojave Trails National Monument on former railroad lands adjoining historic U.S. Rt. 66, and the Sand to Snow National Monument, which would include areas from the desert floor of the Coachella Valley to the high country of the San Bernardino Mountains.
The Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 was the turning point in the Civil War, but the battle’s legacy extends beyond military history, as Gettysburg National Military Park today preserves 4,000 acres of the battlefield and adjoining areas. Preservation of the Gettysburg battlefield began shortly after the battle ended, with a portion of East Cemetery Hill developed by the War Department into Gettysburg National Cemetery, where President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address four months after the battle at the cemetery’s dedication.
Redwoods have a special place in western conservation culture. Along with being the tallest trees in the world, Redwoods are also some of the world’s most rot-resistant trees, and by virtue of their bark, size, and ecosystem, Redwoods are amazingly fire-resistant. Other than man, or the occasional well-placed windstorm, Redwoods have no natural enemies, and can thrive for hundreds if not thousands of years. Growing along a thin coastal band from Big Sur to the Oregon border, Redwoods once covered two million acres of the Northern California coast.
If passed, the California Desert Protection Act will protect over one million acres of the Mojave Desert’s last wild, scenic areas, with the creation of two new National Monuments: the Mojave Trails National Monument on former railroad lands adjoining historic U.S. Rt. 66, and the Sand to Snow National Monument, which would include areas from the desert floor of the Coachella Valley to the high country of the San Bernardino Mountains, along with several new wilderness areas providing greater species connectivity across the region.
Conservationist photographer and the host of Wild Exposure, Ian Shive, talks about his new book The National Parks: Our American Landscape, covering four years’ worth of travel photographing America’s National Parks.
Michael Cipra from the National Parks Conservation Association’s Desert Field office in Joshua Tree talks about the danger to rangers, wildlife, and the public with the introduction of firearms into National Parks after a long-standing prohibition on loaded weapons, first made law in the 1930s and upheld by President Reagan in 1981, was curiously repealed.
An 11th hour amendment added to the 2009 Credit Card Reform Act to allow loaded firearms in National Parks and other National Park Service lands has passed Congress, and the entire legislative package, complete with the guns-in-National-Parks provision, has regrettably been signed into law by President Obama.
We at Treehuggers International are exceedingly disappointed in Congress’ unwillingness to have a public debate on the matter of firearms in National Parks, and at President Obama for signing the package into law in what appears to be an act of pure political concession.
While hunting is appropriately allowed in some National Parks and wildlife refuges, we at Treehuggers International, along with citizens’ groups, conversation organizations, and retired park rangers, can’t think of a more reckless move than to allow loaded weapons in National Parks in all seasons, especially in areas where conservation is the guiding principle, not an afterthought.
More about this post at:
- National Parks Conservation Association
- Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, statement on guns in National Parks
- National Parks Gun Law Takes effect In February (Washington Post; 5/22/09)
- Shotguns, AK-47s, and Your National Parks (NPR; 5/22/09)
- National Parks Bracing for Armed Visitors (New Jersey on-line; 5/21/09)
- Guns In National Parks A Deadly Decision (Opposing Views; 5/21/09)
- Fine Print In Credit Card Bill: Concealed Weapons At National Parks (Los Angeles Times; 5/20/09)
- Ranger, Conservation Groups Oppose Guns In National Parks (The Oregonian; 5/14/09)
California’s State Parks are the envy of the nation, but they are facing grim times as Governor Schwarzenegger intends to close, padlock, and mothball 80% of state parks by the end of the summer.