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Press Release – FORT Friends

Local Recreational Groups Applaud Presidential Designation of Fort Ord National Monument

MARINA, CA (April 20, 2012) – Today, Fort Ord Recreation Trails (FORT) Friends praised the decision by President Obama to designate Fort Ord National Monument in Monterey County, California as part of the implementation of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

“There has been a broad-based groundswell of support from the community for the designation of the Fort Ord National Monument, including elected officials at all levels. The monument will preserve unique habitat, provide bountiful recreation for hikers, bikers, runners, equestrians and others on 86 miles of trails and while honoring the military legacy,” said Henrietta Stern, President of FORT Friends.

The 15,000 acres of federal lands at Fort Ord are some of the last undeveloped open space on the Monterey Peninsula, and are home to rare plants and a range of wildlife. The designation of  the national monument will allow the public will be able to permanently continue current non-motorized recreation uses such as mountain and road bicycling, hiking, running, horseback riding, nature study, rescue dog training, youth fitness, family walks, military history trails and other uses.

“The trails at Fort Ord provide solitude and natural beauty and allow me to continue to do something I love.  I run five to six days a week on the soft terrain and even train our nation’s future Olympic athletes on the trails at Fort Ord.  As a former Vietnam Vet, I am grateful that the President formally recognized the historic importance of Fort Ord and protected these beautiful lands for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations,” said Bob Sevene, Olympic coach and FORT Friends Vice President.

The designation of the monument will also have a positive impact on the local economy. For example, Sea Otter Classic, which is the nation’s largest cycling event, relies on the open space on the public lands at Fort Ord. This event brings an estimated $13-17 million dollars to Monterey County each year. The National Monument designation ensured that this type of recreational activity will continue.

The Fort Ord National Monument becomes part of our National Conservation Lands, formally known as the National Landscape Conservation System –– the 27-million acre collection of the most ecologically, culturally and historically significant public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. These lands include National Conservation Areas, National Monuments, Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Scenic and Historic Trails throughout the West.

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FORT Friends is a collaboration of a wide variety trail user groups  dedicated to the establishment of an integrated trails network on Fort Ord. http://fortfriends.net

Media Contact:     Henrietta Stern, henri.stern@ymail.com


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