Obama moves to protect 1.8 million acres of Calif. desert

FILE - In this April 6, 2013, file photo, Joshua trees display unusually abundant booms in the Cima Dome area of the Mojave National Preserve. President Barack Obama is granting national monument status to nearly 1.8 million acres of scenic California desert wilderness, including land that would connect this preserve to other established national monuments and national parks in the area. Obama, in California this week for a fund-raising swing, plan to make the announcement Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 (David DanelskiThe Press-Enterprise via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDITLOS ANGELES (AP) — President Barack Obama is granting national monument status to nearly 1.8 million acres of scenic Southern California desert, a move the White House says will maintain in perpetuity the region’s fragile ecosystem and natural resources, as well as provide recreational opportunities for hikers, campers, hunters and others.

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