Trout Unlimited applauds new Sand to Snow National Monument

Date: 
Sat, 02/13/2016

February 12, 2016

 

Contact:

Kate Miller, Director of Government Affairs, (703) 284-9426
Jessica Strickland, California Field Coordinator, (830) 515-9917

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Trout Unlimited applauds new Sand to Snow National Monument

Designation of three new national monuments in southern California
 will permanently protect water supply, habitat, and sporting opportunities

 

EMERYVILLE, Calif.—Trout Unlimited (TU), the nation’s oldest and largest sportsmen’s organization dedicated to conserving and restoring trout and salmon and their habitat, today cheered President Obama’s designation of three new national monuments in southern California – Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, and Castle Mountains.

Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited, said, “TU members worked diligently to pass bipartisan legislation to protect these remarkable areas.  Unfortunately, the dysfunction in Congress prevented the bill from passing and monument designation is the next best option to protect and sustain the unique fishing and hunting opportunities in the San Bernardino Mountains -- legacy values that have shaped sporting culture and community in southern California for more than a century.”

The 134,000 acre Sand to Snow National Monument rises from the Sonoran Desert floor up to southern California's tallest peak, Mount San Gorgonio at 11,503 feet. The Whitewater River flows through the San Gorgonio Wilderness, providing a rare opportunity for freshwater fishing in this mostly arid region. This new monument also includes the headwaters of the Santa Ana River, the longest river in the region, a popular recreational fishery, and recovery habitat for the endangered southern steelhead trout.

Jessica Strickland, TU’s California Field Coordinator, said “In this era of rapid development and warming climate, it’s vital that we protect the best of what’s left -- key remaining areas and types of habitat, both aquatic and terrestrial -- for their fish and wildlife values and for their benefits to people. It’s very gratifying that the President and Senator Feinstein understand this principle and have now bolstered protection for some of the coldwater streams in this region, in particular the Whitewater River headwaters.”

Strickland added that TU has worked for years in support of initiatives that would better protect the fish and wildlife resources of southern California deserts. In particular, TU worked to advance legislation sponsored by Senator Feinstein that would establish new Wild and Scenic River designations and Wilderness areas while preserving opportunities for off-highway vehicle recreation. This legislation was developed over many years and is supported by a broad spectrum of stakeholders, agencies, chambers of commerce and elected officials. The new monument designations are consistent with the provisions of the Feinstein legislation.

Kate Miller, TU’s Director of Government Affairs, noted that TU generally supports special designations that will improve protection for habitat and sporting opportunities on public lands where such designations have been endorsed by local stakeholders, including local sportsmen’s groups. “In this case, we view national monument designation as a strong first step in a more comprehensive effort to protect and restore public lands habitat in southern California and the rare fishing and hunting opportunities these habitats provide,” Miller said.

 

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Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at www.tu.org.

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