Our public lands are home to places that have shaped our history, however not all of this special places are protected. A national monument is a protected area that has irreplaceable natural, cultural, archaeological and scientific value and are an integral part of our country’s heritage.
Some of the areas that have been protected as national monuments include the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, Muir Woods and Carrizo Plains. These lands are part of our shared national treasure and legacy.
Managing national monuments
National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Bureau of Land Management.
The proposed National Monument at Fort Ord would only protect the federally owned public lands and become part of the National Conservation Lands, which includes a collection of the most ecologically, culturally and historically significant public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Preserving existing rights
Each proclamation creating a national monument is different, in order to address specific issues relating to the individual place. Monument designations allow for broad access to a variety of uses, including mountain biking and other recreational uses, and can lead to better and more sustainable recreational opportunities.
Once designated, the location-specific management plans are put into place with input from local jurisdictions and agencies, community groups, and the general public.
At Fort Ord, community groups want a national monument designation to preserve current multi-use of trails (bike/hike/horse/etc.) for non-motorized recreation, and special events important to the economy, such as the Sea Otter Classic. This would follow in the tradition of other national monuments managed by BLM, such as Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients.
The community also wants to ensure continued use of the Fort Ord Public Lands as a venue for environmental education and appreciation by future generations, from elementary school children to college researchers.
Benefits of national monument designations
Permanently protecting the Fort Ord Public Lands as a national monument ensure that Monterey County will continue to benefit from eco-recreation and heritage tourism. This increased recognition could positively impact local businesses and could help the land management agencies attract additional revenues to properly manage the area’s resources.
Recent economic studies have shown that protected natural amenities—such as pristine scenery, wildlife and access to recreational areas —help sustain property values and attract new investment.
National Monument status for Fort Ord Public Lands would not impact county land use decisions on non-BLM lands that were part of the former Fort Ord.
How national monuments are designated
National monument status can be designated by Congress or by presidential designation using the Antiquities Act.
Presidents and Congress have designated twenty former historic and military sites as national monuments including Big Hole National Battleground in Montana, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument with sites in Hawaii, California and Alaska and Fort Monroe in Virginia.