A historic landscape known as Castner Range is now a national monument, President Biden announced Tuesday.
The strip of land in El Paso, Texas, that generations of Latinos have fought to preserve, spans approximately 7,000 acres and is situated along the Rio Grande River.
Indigenous ancestral lands include numerous archaeological sites and abundant wildlife.
The movement occurred as part of a larger Biden ad, who said that more than half a million acres in Nevada and Texas are becoming national monuments. The president is also instituting a marine sanctuary in US waters near remote Pacific islands near Hawaii.
These are “natural treasures” that “define our identity as a nation,” Biden said Tuesday during the White House summit on conservation action. “They are a birthright that we have to pass down from generation to generation.”
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Avi Kwa Ame, a desert mountain in Nevada considered sacred by Native Americans, was named a national monument along with the Castner Range.
Tribal and conservation organizations praised Biden for the move to protect land, but Nevada’s Republican governor saw it as an inappropriate “federal seizure” of Nevada territory.
“This type of ‘Washington Knows Best’ policy may win the applause of unaccountable special interests, but it will cost our state jobs and economic opportunity,” Governor Joe Lombardo said in a statement.
The Nevada land that is now protected covers more than 500,000 acres and borders the state lines of Arizona and California. The site is home to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and Joshua trees, some of which are 900 years old.
In addition to protecting Indian land, Castner Range will also honor US Army training and test sites during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The area is still full of unexploded ordnance, according to NBC News. The plan is to make the landscape safe again for El Pasoans to explore and “learn from nature,” the White House said in a statement.
with cable news services