CASTLE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL MONUMENT
The Castle Mountains encompass native desert grasslands and wildlife habitat for Golden Eagles, and some of the finest Joshua tree, pinon pine, and juniper forests in the California Desert.
The area features stunning vistas of the rocky California and Nevada desert mountain ranges, including Nevada’s Spirit Mountain, which is revered by southwestern Native American tribes and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Castle Mountains are surrounded on three sides by the Mojave National Preserve. However, this small but critical wildlife area has yet to receive the protections it deserves. In Senator Feinstein’s legislation, this area is a long overdue addition to the Preserve. A national monument designation can accomplish the same conservation goals in a timely manner for this much-loved part of nature.
The Castle Mountains provide critical habitat for the desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions, golden eagles, Swainson’s hawks, desert tortoise, gila monsters, prairie falcons, Bendire’s thrashers, grey vireo, Townsend big-eared bats and California leaf-nosed bats.
Because of the Castle Mountains connection to the Mojave National Preserve, the area offers unparalleled opportunities to study wildlife movements. It a target location for the reintroduction of pronghorn, the second fastest species of land mammal in the world.
Benefiting the Land and People
Expanding the Mojave Preserve to include the Castle Mountains will mean that this landscape will be forever protected and accessible. This permanent protection will also support the region’s tourism and recreation economies.
The natural, historic, recreational and scenic features will be safe from industrial development. It will also ensure that these public lands remain open to outdoor recreation, hunting, and grazing, and enhance visitor services and facilities.
Native American and Pioneer Heritage
The Castle Mountains are a ‘living laboratory’ showcasing the progression of human history in the Eastern Mojave Desert. Here you will find elements of Native American, Western American, and mining histories, including an obsidian source, and the Hart and Viceroy mines.
Beneath the shadow of Hart Peak are rich Native American archaeological sites and the historic gold mining ghost town of Hart.