Route 66 News

Vote on Mojave Trails National Monument seems likely in coming weeks

George Wuerthner, a writer for New West Community Blogs, reported today that a bunch of wilderness and parks bills likely will be bundled together as one big omnibus bill and voted on by the lame-duck Congress in the coming weeks.

One of those bills would be the Mojave Trails National Monument, which follows the Route 66 corridor in California’s Mojave Desert.

Wuerthner writes about the 60-odd wildness and parks bills:

Voting on individual bills in the limited time left in this session means few, if any of these bills, would become law despite obvious support from Congress. As a result Senator [Jeff] Bingaman, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, has decided to bundle as many as 60 separate bills, including many wilderness proposals into one Omnibus lands bill for passage. A similar technique was used in the 2009 Congressional session to garner wilderness designation for many areas in the country including wilderness designations in Utah, Oregon, Virginia, Michigan and California. […]

… [T]he biggie in California is The California Desert Protection Act, (S. 2921), introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein. This expansive bill would protect nearly 1.5 million acres of southern California’s desert lands by creating two new National Monuments (Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments), adding Wilderness acreage, expanding Joshua tree and Death Valley National Parks, and protecting the desert’s historic treasures like Route 66.

That 2009 Omnibus bill, by the way, included the reauthorization of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program for another 10 years.

We’ll try to follow the Mojave Trails legislation, although keeping track of the ebb and flow of legislation is like trying to herd cats.

15 thoughts on “Vote on Mojave Trails National Monument seems likely in coming weeks

  1. Jim Conkle

    It has been my pleasure and honor to have worked on this project. In fact it started out being called the “Mother Road National Monument” and still is by some folks.
    The bill is needed to protect the ‘viewscape’ of Route 66 thru the Mojave Desert area, as well as the roadbed its self.
    This was a true ‘grass roots’ effort led by many groups and leaders that came together to work out the details and addressed a number of issues and points of views. Sen. Feinstein and her staff reached out to every stake holder and invited them to be a part of this process, some did and some didn’t. We spent many hours working on the bill as well as a few trips to DC. At all times Route 66 was a major factor and we got alot of new roadies from this partnership.

  2. Sean

    I would first like to take a moment to thank Jim Conkle (and all of the other Route 66 stakeholders) who supported this effort. While the area obviously encompasses a larger region than just Route 66 in the Mohave, it may well manage to preserve one of the most pristine of the later I-40 bypass sections of 66. In use until 1973 (for the most part) this section of 66 crosses some of the most beautiful areas of the Mohave Desert region, and represents very vividly historic Route 66 and cross-desert travel prior to the Interstate age. The Goffs-Ludlow section is one of the best Route 66 drives out there. I am sure I join many of you in hoping for this bill to get a swift passage by Congress.

    1. Ron

      So what? Things can go from zero to full speed very quickly in Washington. There’s no reason that Bingaman cannot introduce an omnibus bill in the coming days, like he did last year.

      Sure, maybe he’ll bail on this idea. But an omnibus bill is very plausible, and is part of Bingaman’s M.O.

      1. The Dude

        I dont see the propose of wasting American tax dollars making more wilderness, Cal has enough. This country has more pressing issues, like retaining jobs and economic recovery. Im sorry, Government priorities are skewed.

      2. Ron

        I think you could argue quite convincingly that creating a new national park would actually have the peripheral effect of creating many jobs outside the boundaries of the park.

  3. The Dude

    Oh yah, The Mojave preserve, DV and all the Clinton era land grabs have been most profitable for CA LOL. Lets spend millions to protect something that is already protected and claim its a profitable economic sound job creating venture. Funny :)

    1. Ron

      You haven’t exactly retorted what I said. If you don’t think private businesses haven’t sprouted up around the perimeters of Grand Canyon National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, or many other parks, then you haven’t traveled much.

  4. The Dude

    All do respect, Not trying to retort, Just making a point. Why spend all this time and energy tax $ and congressional act to fix something that isn’t broken? Im very familiar how tourism works and have traveled areas you describe. Re-designating lands will not spark an economic recovery and not do a thing for real problems our great nation faces.

  5. Jacquelyne

    I’d rather not have all this cooperative work compiled in an Omnibus Package. While some of these bills are valuable, some of them can damage small local economies, some are not even co-sponsored by their own state legislators. I am personally against shoving them through at the last minute. It always feels crooked to me in some way like we are railroading folks. As much as has gone into this Bill, I’d like to see it pass or not pass on it’s own merits.

    1. Ron

      Jacquelyne, if you do it your way, it probably won’t happen it all. That’s the reality the Congress is dealing with, hence the likely omnibus bill. It’s wiser to try for the possible than the impossible.

      1. Jacquelyne

        Well then I respectfully disagree, there is no reason to get desperate…and potentially damage small communities, peoples lives because we want it now. It will keep, the desert is protected in many other ways.

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