Sand to Snow

Sand to Snow

Rising from the Sonoran Desert floor to the snowy peaks of Mount San Gorgonio, the Sand to Snow National Monument is one of the most critical wildlife corridors in Southern California.

Background

Things to do in Sand to Snow

San Gorgonio Wilderness

The San Gorgonio Wilderness is the number one visited wilderness in Southern California, attracting over 50,000 annual visits.

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

Meander along the easy trails through this lush desert marsh and watch the hundreds of bird species that make this vast watering hole a stopover along the Pacific Flyway.

World Class Hiking

Tackle 30 miles of the famed 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail, or try the “Nine Peaks Challenge,” a grueling all-day 27-mile hike.

Sand to Snow contains a rich tapestry of landscapes and habitats including alpine slopes and snow capped mountains, low elevation Joshua tree woodlands, rivers, wetlands, and desert vistas.

FUN FACTS

THE SOUTH FACE OF MT. SAN GORGONIO, IN SAND TO SNOW NATIONAL MONUMENT, IS PUSHED UP SHARPLY BY THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT, WHICH RUNS ALONG THE BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN.

These massive tectonic forces are what produced the dramatic elevation shifts in Sand to Snow. The San Andreas has also pushed up part of the Imperial formation in Whitewater Canyon, exposing fossils from a prehistoric shallow sea that used to overlay the area.

The destruction of native cactus in Devil’s Garden inspired Minerva Hoyt to start advocating for the protection of what would eventually become Joshua Tree National Monument, in 1936, and later Joshua Tree National Park.

Ironically, the remaining intact areas of Devil’s Garden were left out. But now, nearly a century later, they are fully protected in Sand to Snow National Monument.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a national monument?

A national monument is a designation given to an area of federal public land that contains unique scientific, cultural, natural and historical features, so that the area is protected for future generations. National monuments are all unique, and each is designed to protect the unique value of the area while allowing other compatible uses, such as outdoor recreation and ranching, to continue.

How is a national monument created?

A national monument can be established by either the president or Congress and can be managed by one of the following agencies: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S Forest Service, National Park Service, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This designation only applies to lands managed by the federal government and does not apply to private, state, county, city, or other local lands. It also does not affect rights held by water agencies, tribes, sanitation districts and land management agencies.

Since 1906, both Republican and Democratic presidents have used their authority to designate more than 100 national monuments including many of our most beloved public lands in California.

How would a national monument benefit the land and people?

Designating the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains as national monuments will:

  • Safeguard the natural, historic, recreational and scenic features in several of the most spectacular lands in the California desert from industrial development;
  • Ensure that these public lands remain open to traditional uses, outdoor recreation, hunting, and grazing;
  • Provide opportunities for ongoing community involvement in the management planning process;
  • Bring more prominent awareness and visitation, promoting tourism and economic opportunity in the surrounding communities.

Additionally, protecting public lands in the California desert has already brought noteworthy economic benefits to the region. Visitors to Death Valley and Joshua National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve contributed $165 million to the region’s economy in 2013, supporting nearly 2,000 jobs.

National monuments in the California desert will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of the National Conservation Lands. As part of this system of protected lands, monuments are managed for multiple uses, including outdoor recreation and conservation of natural, cultural, historical, and archeological resources. In addition, traditional rights, current and valid grazing and mining leases, and rights-of-way will be honored.

Was there local input in the effort to establish these national monuments?

Yes. The national monument proposals came in response to nearly a decade of work by local leaders on legislative efforts to protect the California desert. The permanent protection of these special places is supported by elected officials, business owners, veterans, local faith leaders, anglers, historians, conservationists and others.

Will community members have a say in how the national monuments are managed?

Yes. The public scoping and planning process is beginning in summer 2016.  The community will be invited to participate in “pre-planning” before the formal process under federal guidelines has begun to help the agencies better understand the communities interests as early as possible.   When the formal planning process begins, public input is required as the agencies like BLM create a draft of the management plans.

National monuments in the California desert will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of the National Conservation Lands. As part of this system of protected lands, monuments are managed for multiple uses, including outdoor recreation and conservation of natural, cultural, historical, and archeological resources. In addition, traditional rights, current and valid grazing and mining interests, and rights-of-way will be honored.