Fort Ord designation a monumental deal

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Backers of the movement to designate a huge swath of the former Fort Ord as a national monument got a 14,000-acre surprise Friday: a resounding yes from the White House. The announcement came just three days after area officials made their latest rounds in Washington to tout the former military base and open space in Monterey County as worthy of the designation. The president’s statement about the former base highlights exactly what area officials see as its value, calling it “a world-class destination for hikers, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts who come to enjoy the area’s history and scenic landscapes.”

Why should Santa Cruz County residents care? Because the new status, and improvements to the land that are in store, will undoubtedly be a boost to the region’s tourism and recreation economies. Tourists already flock to this area to sample the many recreational opportunities — and when doing so leave a few of their dollars behind. Fort Ord presents myriad opportunities. There’s nothing to dislike about the designation.

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President Obama signs proclamation designating Fort Ord National Monument

President Barack Obama after signing a proclamation in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 20, 2012, to designate federal lands within Fort Ord, a former military base located on California’s Central Coast, as a National Monument under the Antiquities Act. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

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Obama to designate Fort Ord as a new national monument

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Fort Ord will become America’s newest national monument on Friday!

President Barack Obama is scheduled to establish the new designation on Friday, April 20, making the sweeping former military base only the second national monument he has created since becoming president in 2009.

“Fort Ord’s dramatic landscape lives in the memories of thousands of veterans as their first taste of Army life, as a final stop before deploying to war, or as a home base during their military career,” Obama said in a statement late Thursday.

“This national monument will not only protect one of the crown jewels of California’s coast, but will honor the heroism and dedication of men and women who served our nation and fought in the major conflicts of the 20th century,” Obama said.

Read the full story.

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A veteran’s perspective — Fort Ord a treasure for now and forever

Chris DiMaio served as a Navy doctor in 1968-69 with the 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Division and Marine Battalion 1/9 in Vietnam. A member of Vet Voice Foundation, he recently asked the president to designate Fort Ord our country’s next National Monument.

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Fort Ord was established in 1917. Generations of Americans served at Fort Ord, with regiments fighting in World War II and protecting California’s coastline after the attack on Pearl Harbor. With nearly 100 years in service, Fort Ord has been a critical part of our nation’s defense and our state’s security.

Today, Fort Ord can serve our region in a new way. With our state and region facing lean times, it is clear that designating Fort Ord as a national monument would preserve this beautiful place forever and create an immediate boost for our local economy.

I ask the president to look no further than Fort Ord for our country’s next National Monument. It would be a wonderful testament to the sacrifice our veterans and our community have made in service of our nation.

Read the full article.

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Monument plan would be a boon

The president of the Monterey County Business Council, has weighed in on the effort to declare Fort Ord a national monument:

Designation of Fort Ord as a national monument would be a sound investment in our future. Tourism is the second largest industry in Monterey County. More than 8.5 million visitors come to the county each year, investing just over $2 billion in the economy and employing 20,900 people.

A new national monument, befitting the cultural and environmental heritage we cherish, would bring more visitors and visibility to the Central Coast.

Read the full article.

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Toro Park students ask President for national monument

This spring, more than 150 third-graders at Toro Park School wrote letters to President Obama asking the president to make Fort Ord a national monument.

A letter from their teachers talked about what a wonderful resource it is to have the public lands as an outdoor classroom for the students.

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Preserving our heritage by protecting Fort Ord

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) posted a guest blog from Gary Courtright with Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association, a chapter of IMBA. Gary recently was in Washington, DC for the White House Conference on Conservation.

As an avid mountain biker, I have had the chance to ride most, if not all, of the 86-miles of trails out at the Fort Ord Public Lands. As the father of five boys, I’ve watched each of them develop a love of the outdoors as we’ve taken rides along the rolling trails near East Garrison and progress to racing mountain bikes locally. My sons have also gained a real appreciation for the unique habitat out on the BLM lands when we’ve worked on trail restoration projects.

At the conference, the President talked about his experience taking his daughters to Yellowstone National Park for the first time and how protecting these special places in our country encourages this love and respect of the outdoors while preserving our country’s heritage. That is what we want to do in Monterey County by protecting the federal lands managed by BLM.

Read the full post.

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Community meeting to support monument – March 18

Sustainable Seaside and Sustainable Marina are hosting a community discussion about the proposed Fort Ord Soldiers National Monument.

Sunday, March 18 from 2:30 – 5pmFlyer for Sustainable Seaside event
Marina Library
190 Seaside Circle, Marina, CA

Many user groups and stakeholders will present information at and have information at tables. Groups include: Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association, Fort Ord Rec Users, FORT Friends, Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse, Return of the Natives, Veterans’
groups, California Native Plant Society, Keep Fort Ord Wild, Monterey Youth Hostel, and CSUMB students.

Fr more information, contact or call 831-884-9662.


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National monument would boost local economy

From Public News Service, Obama Hears Pitch from Fort Ord Monument Supporters:

Mary Anne Leffel, president of the Monterey County Business Council, says not only would a national monument designation [for the Fort Ord Public Lands] protect the valuable open space and its habitat, it would also boost the local economy. She says tourism already brings in $2 billion a year, mostly because of the popular Monterey Bay Aquarium. If Fort Ord were made a national monument, more visitors could enjoy the nearly 100 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding available on the former military base, explains Leffel.

“This would actually make it an official designation, so that the area could market it as such – because we get visitors from all over the world, and they don’t realize until they get here that they could have taken part in some of these other activities.”

Listen to the full story.

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Fort Ord monument backers get Obama’s ear

President Obama shaking hands with Henrietta SternSeveral Monterey County residents met President Barack Obama last week and had the opportunity to express the  broad community support for the national monument proposal ranging from the Fort Ord Reuse Authority and business groups to veterans, recreational users and environmental interests.

From the Monterey Herald:

“[Henrietta] Stern said the proposal calls for designating about 14,500 acres of public land on the former military base as the Fort Ord Soldiers National Monument, which Obama … could recognize under the Antiquities Act of 1906. About half that acreage is already under federal Bureau of Land Management control, with the rest to be turned over to the bureau following completion of an Army-led military ordnance clean-up expected to be finished by 2019.”

Read the full story.

The monument would only protect the federally owned public land 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.

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