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Entries in U.S. Department of Interior (8)

Saturday
Feb252017

A Visitor Center for the Presidio of San Francisco

This morning the Presidio Trust, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service celebrated the opening of the new Visitor Center at the Presidio of San Francisco. 

The Presidio of San Francisco is a 2.347 mi2 (6.08 km2) park and former U.S. Army military fort on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate BridgeSan Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1962. -Wikipedia

"A Park for Evenyone"

Today's festivities were truly reflective of San Francsico's diverse communities, as the opening remarks declared that this is "A Park for Everyone." The schedule of activies began with an Ohlone Welcome Dance by the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, a portion of which is shared above and below. Other highlights included performances by the Loong Mah Dragon and Lion Dancers (portions of which are shared below); a ranger-led history walk, Buffalo Soldiers: Gone but not Forgotten; Latin fusion music by Peregrinos Cosmicos; and many other activities, including lawn games and whiffle ball!

Given all of the events outside and the beauty of the day, I didn't even make it inside the new Visitor Center. I'll have to come back and check it out another day!

Acorn Song honoring the plants and trees

Dragon Performance

Lion and Dragon Performance

Wednesday
Aug102016

Tribal Leader Advocates for Public Lands

For James Holt, Nez Perce tribal member, #OurWild is his homeland. "People need those places. They need open spaces. We can't let it get shut off." Join the movement to protect #OurWild from privatization at www.wilderness.org/ourwild.

For additional information and expert resources on the public lands takeover please go to WILDERNESS.ORG.

Monday
Jun272016

Time to Protect Bears Ears

In the southeast corner of Utah, the region known as “Bears Ears” covers nearly 2 million acres of dramatic mesas, canyons and arches (and the namesake sandstone-fringed buttes).

With more than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites, Bears Ears provides a unique connection to the ancient world. Perhaps nowhere in the United States are so many well-preserved cultural resources found within such a striking and relatively undeveloped natural landscape.

In July of 2015, leaders from five Tribes founded the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, representing a historic consortium of sovereign tribal nations united in the effort to conserve the Bears Ears cultural landscape. The five nations are committed to working together. A total of 26 Tribes have expressed support for protecting the Bear Ears region for future generations of Americans. Native American peoples are also seeking active engagement in future management of the area.

The members of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition are:

This vast stretch of wildland is arguably one of the most culturally significant places in the country, and one of the least protected. The rock art etched and painted into the steep-walled canyons and the ruins, kivas, and other artifacts—that still exist in their original context—don’t just tell a story of the ancient world, they also contribute to what makes Bears Ears a sacred place for Native American tribes to this day.

Despite its irreplaceable value, Bears Ears is under attack—threatened by looting, vandalism and development. Some politicians in Utah see this remarkable landscape as just a place to exploit, which could destroy a physical chronicle of millions of years of natural and human history.

Please ask President Obama to #ProtectBearsEarsNow

Friday
Jun242016

Announcing the Stonewall National Monument

On June 24, 2016 President Obama designated the site of the Stonewall uprising and birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement the “Stonewall National Monument.” This new monument is a testament to the diversity, inclusiveness, and individual freedom that make America great.
"I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national parks system. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one." - President Barack Obama
Friday
Feb122016

New National Monuments in California

Americans and visitors from around the world have long been drawn to the stark beauty of the California desert, with its rocky peaks, amazing array of plants and wildlife and Native American archaeological sites. Now, thanks to President Barack Obama, more of this spectacular region is protected within three new national monuments.

Bridging the area between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails National Monument protects a stunning array of desert plant life and essential habitat for desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, eagles, falcons and a wide variety of reptiles. The monument includes 350,000 acres of previously designated wilderness, along with the Pisgah Lava Flow, Marble Mountain Fossil Beds and the most intact stretch of historic Route 66. 

The new Sand to Snow National Monument encompasses a tract of land between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest that stretches from the Sonoran Desert floor to Southern California's tallest alpine peak, Mount San Gorgonio. It includes rivers, wetlands, desert landscapes and Joshua tree woodlands, not to mention 100,000 acres of existing wilderness. It’s also home to the headwaters of the Santa Ana—Southern California's longest river, as well as the headwaters of the Whitewater River and its accompanying wetlands—providing habitat for migrating birds, including yellow-breasted chat and vermilion flycatchers. Mule deer, mountain lions and black bears also roam this region.

Castle Mountains National Monument protects habitat for golden eagles, bighorn sheep, bobcats, mule deer and other wildlife, in a landscape of native desert grasslands and rocky peaks. Joshua trees, pinion pine and juniper forests are permanently protected in the new monument, along with significant cultural features, including Native American archaeological sites and the remains of Hart, a short-lived gold mining town from the early 20th century. The area has also been identified as an ideal reintroduction site for pronghorn antelope, the second-fastest land mammal on earth.

Tuesday
Sep222015

Sage-grouse Conservation Announcement 

Once seen in great numbers across the West, greater sage-grouse have declined in number over the past century because of the loss of sagebrush habitats essential for their survival and had been candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners across 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage-grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse strategy is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history. The Fish and Wildlife Service decision validates efforts to advance large landscape conservation guided by science and honed by local knowledge. A  more detailed summary of the plans is forthcoming later this week, but the topline is clear. The federal plans will result in nearly 12 million acres of unwaivable protections and 23 million acres with stringent restrictions – that’s nearly 35 million acres of new conservation on federal lands through administrative designations and mineral withdrawals.

Friday
Jul102015

A Victory for Conservation and Communities

Image Source: The White House Blog

Today, President Obama announced the creation of three new national monuments that demonstrate the wide range of historic and cultural values that make America’s public lands so beloved. Together, the new monuments protect over one million acres of public land. With these new designations, President Obama will have used the Antiquities Act to establish or expand 19 national monuments. Altogether, he has protected more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters – more than any other President.

The new monuments are:

Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, a landscape containing rare biodiversity and an abundance of recreational opportunities;

Waco Mammoth in Texas, a significant paleontological site featuring well-preserved remains of 24 Columbian Mammoths; and

Basin and Range in Nevada, an iconic American landscape that includes rock art dating back 4,000 years and serves as an irreplaceable resource for archaeologists, historians, and ecologists.

The Wilderness Society, working with a coalition of local and national partners, played a leading role in the two larger lan­­dscape-scale monuments.  Both Berryessa Snow Mountain, and Basin and Range have been priority campaigns for our organization and they represent the evolution of executive level conservation for the Obama administration and its willingness to think at a landscape scale and act boldly.  The Society is working hard to reinforce and validate this move with an eye toward leveraging more like it on the horizon, and we are very optimistic about the prospect of many more great places being protected from now until the end of the administration.

These monuments will provide a boost to local economies by attracting visitors and generating more revenue and jobs for local communities, further supporting an outdoor recreation industry that already generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year. 

For example, an independent economic report found that the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument designation is likely to increase visitation and could generate an additional $26 million in economic activity for local communities over five years. 

Thank You President Obama!

 

Image Source: The White House Blog

Thursday
Mar122015

Preservation and Public Service

      Map of expanded Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Credit: NOAA

Today was a great win for preservation and public service!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expanding the boundaries of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) to an area north and west of their current boundaries. NOAA is also revising the corresponding sanctuary terms of designation and management plans.

The expansion increases the Gulf of the Farallones from approximately 1,282 square miles to approximately 3,295 square miles, and Cordell Bank from approximately 529 square miles to approximately 1,286 square miles. The expansion will help to protect the region's marine and coastal habitats, biological resources and special ecological features.

According to the White House Blog, "NOAA’s action today reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to protecting our oceans and coasts. The ocean provides food, jobs, and opportunities for tourism and recreation for Americans all over the country. But the ocean is in trouble, facing serious threats from carbon pollution to overfishing. That’s why the President has taken action throughout his Administration to promote marine conservation and give Americans a voice in protecting areas of the sea that matter most to them."

In addition, today the U.S. Department of the Interior is launching a new volunteer network — thanks to a $5 million grant from American Express — that will triple the number of volunteers at national parks and bring the Department one step closer to 1 million volunteers a year on America's public lands.

According to the 50 Cities Initiative announcement, Secretary Jewell first outlined the goals of the youth initiative in a speech at the National Press Club in October 2013 where she emphasized the need to bridge the growing disconnect between young people and the great outdoors.

The program will roll out in 25 cities in 2015—starting today with New York City and continuing with the announcement of ten more cities in the following days (New York City, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, DC, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, St. Louis, and St. Paul). The remaining cities will be announced later this year and in 2016. For more information on the youth initiative, visit www.doi.gov/youth.