Local business owners throughout the California desert region, including the Victorville, Barstow, and Needles, are expressing support, following President Obama designation of the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments on February 12. More than 200 diverse establishments – including small hotels, restaurants, hair salons, clothing boutiques and local branches of national chains joined the call, urging the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish the three new monuments.
With this action, President Obama will ensure the permanent protection of countless archaeological, historical and natural resources, while creating new opportunities for tourism and business development in the region.
“My Mother and I own Glossy Boutique in Desert Hot Spring,” said DHS native Allegra Angelo. “For 30 years our business has catered to tourists who come here, not only for our famous hot springs, but to be immersed in the natural beauty that surrounds us. That’s why we both supported the creation of our new desert monuments. Sand to Snow National Monument, in particular, will be an incredible boon to local businesses because it’s literally in our backyard.”
“The creation of Mojave Trails is an opportunity to bolster Barstow’s tourism sector”, remarked Rakesh Mehta, General Manager of the Ramada Inn in Barstow. “Visitors already use Barstow as a jumping off point for exploring the desert. With the added attraction of a national monument that highlights Route 66, we can bring more tourists here to explore our historic section of the ‘Mother Road’”.
Diana Wickler, owner of Desert Cities Realtors in Yucca Valley and Desert Hot Spring observed, “For 25 years, I’ve worked in the building and real estate industries throughout the desert and it’s clear to me – a primary reason people decide to rent, buy or build here is the desire to live close to nature. Access to protected public lands, whether national parks or monuments, is a key selling point – attracting tourists, new residents and businesses. These new monuments are a good investment in our local economy.”
For nearly a decade, Senator Feinstein worked closely with a diverse group of local stakeholders, including chambers of commerce and other business organizations, to formulate and introduce legislation to enhance tourism, ensure recreation access, and protect natural and cultural resources in the California Desert. After legislation remained stalled since 2009 and the outlook for success in Congress remained dim, Senator Feinstein turned to President Obama last year with a request to designate the three new monuments.