Keen’s Live Monumental campaign has made great strides today. Thanks to three new National Monuments in California (Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains), the state now has the largest protected desert landscape in the world. The designation of Mojave Trails National Monument marks the second successful designation for the Keen Live Monumental campaign—a national movement designed to rally support for the protection of five incredible landscapes across the U.S. for their recreational, environmental, historical and economical significance.
Using the Antiquities Act passed by Congress and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, President Obama designated his 20th, 21st and 22nd National Monuments. “Mojave Trails is truly a loved landscape, as evident by the overwhelming support we experienced while driving across the country,” offers Chris Enlow, Keen Effect Team Member. “Keen is completely thrilled to be a small part of such an incredible, historic action. Three cheers for three new desert monuments!”
The Mojave Trails National Monument links Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve, protecting pristine scenery, archeological and scientific wonders, and important bighorn sheep and desert tortoise habitats. Visitors to the area will experience more life than they might expect in the desert, thanks to a substantial amount of groundwater that feeds rare desert springs. North America’s youngest volcano, Amboy Crater, lives here too, as well as the 550 million-year-old trilobite fossil beds of the Marble Mountains. Or, if driving is preferred, visitors can experience the longest undeveloped stretch of historic Route 66 within this new monument’s boundaries.
In July 2015, Keen kicked off its Live Monumental campaign with a two-month cross-country road trip from Portland, OR to Washington DC to raise awareness and rally support for the preservation of public lands. The campaign urges the Obama Administration to protect five specific areas in the U.S. through national monument designations. The areas include: Mojave Desert, CA; Owyhee Canyonlands, OR; Birthplace of Rivers, WV; Boulder-White Clouds, ID; and Gold Butte, NV. The first victory for the campaign came on Aug. 7, 2015 when Idaho’s majestic Boulder-White Clouds was permanently protected as Wilderness.
In 2016, the Live Monumental campaign will continue to advocate for the remaining three public landscapes on its list, sparking advocacy from businesses, and attaining a critical mass of signatures before President Obama leaves office. A film documenting the 2015 road trip and campaign will be released in spring 2016.