October 14, 2015
Release: Vet Voice Foundation Asks President Obama to help Protect California Desert
The Vet Voice Foundation applauds the visit by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Department of Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor and U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie and other officials to Palm Springs on Tuesday, October 13th regarding protection of public lands in the California desert region. In response, Vet Voice Foundation has added its voice to a growing chorus of other Veterans, local elected officials, business owners, Native Americans, faith leaders, historians, artists, local residents, and conservationists in asking President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate three National Monuments in the Californian desert. These areas—Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and the Castle Mountains—mean a great deal to Veterans and their families, not only as scenic places to hike, camp and relax in, but also as places of quiet repose and recovery for Veterans suffering from PTSD and other war-related trauma.
It was President Theodore Roosevelt, a Veteran and devoted conservationist, who first used the executive authority of the Antiquities Act to help protect iconic places, such as the Grand Canyon, Mt. Lassen, and Mt. Olympus. Today, we also have a historic opportunity to permanently protect public lands in the California desert for future generations by designating the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains as National Monuments. This push for designation comes after nearly a decade of work by local leaders on legislative efforts to protect the California desert.
“We urge President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to designate the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains as National Monuments. We also appreciate Senator Feinstein’s request, on behalf of many diverse stakeholders who care about the future of the California desert, for the President to take this action.” said Steve Dunwoody, California Director of the Vet Voice Foundation. “The natural and cultural resources of these public lands, the rich history, are worthy of protection as National Monuments. We want to see every tool available used to protect these lands – for Veterans, their families, and the wider community.”
Founded in 2009, the mission of Vet Voice Foundation is to mobilize veterans to become leaders in our nation's democracy through participation in the civic and democratic process. VVF seeks to harness the energy and drive of the dedicated men and women who have fought for their country, and put it to work at home and in their communities on the important issues they face, such as health care, jobs, the environment, and housing.