Park Chasers everywhere received a special Valentine’s Day treat this weekend. The National Park Service just got a little bit bigger with the designation of the 410th unit, Castle Mountains National Monument. The designation on February 12, 2016 elevated 2 other units in the service to National Monument status and preserved an additional 1.8 million acres of California wilderness. It also added another vacation stop to our list and made the ParkChasing challenge one stop longer!!
With this designation, the Obama administration has now set aside more than 265 million acres of land and water, far more than any other administration in U.S. history.
Here’s what you need to know about the newest unit in the National Park Service:
- Encompasses nearly 21,000 acres of California desert in the areas east of Los Angeles and roughly 100 miles south of Las Vegas.
- The park includes Joshua tree forests, rare desert grassland, and more than 250 species of birds.
- The National Monument also preserves archeological sites and the historic mining ghost town of Hart.
- According to the White House press release, the Castle Mountains
area “provides a critical linkage for plants, animals, and water between two mountain ranges within the Mojave National Preserve, the New York Mountains to the northwest and the Piute Mountains to the southeast.”