1. How large is the monument?
The monument encompasses a total of 272,000 acres:
86,400 acres Bureau of Land Management
64,400 acres US Forest Service
23,000 acres Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
8,500 acres California Department of Parks & Recreation
34,500 acres Other State of California agencies
55,200 acres Private land
Although the monument designation only applies to Federal land, all agencies will work, coordinate, consult and cooperate to provide consistent management for the entire area.
2. Why a National Monument?
To preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and to secure now and for future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy the magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, recreational opportunities and natural and cultural resources in the mountains.
3. Why a National Monument managed by two different Departments?
The land within the Monument boundary has many different owners and resource values that are nationally important. This Monument will serve as a new conservation model in that it will provide quality and consistent service to the public without any agency or group having to give up their jurisdiction. Monument status is important to the land in that it brings all of these agencies together to develop a unified management approach that will increase public service and resource protection.
4. Will access to State and private lands within the monument boundaries be affected by monument designation?
The Act provides for continued access to federally owned land within the boundaries of the monument.
5. Will private lands surrounding the monument be affected?
No. The legislation applies only to Federal land. Monument designation does not affect any property rights held by any Indian reservations, the State of California, or private landowners. Nothing in the establishment of the National Monument will affect any property rights within the boundaries of the monument. The monument legislation specifically prohibits the establishment of buffer zones around the monument.
6. How will existing recreation uses within the monument be affected?
Key management goals for the monument include providing recreation opportunities and visitor services for people to experience and enjoy the biological resources and scenic values of the monument. The management plan will include provisions to continue recreational use of the area. Until the completion of the management plan, the area will be managed in a manner substantially consistent with current management. Most existing recreation uses will continue. Some adjustments to recreation activities may be necessary in order to provide protection for the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. Such adjustments would be necessary regardless of monument designation.
7. Will the public have an opportunity to be involved the preparation of the monuments management plan?
Yes. The public will be involved in the development of the management plan for the monument. A variety of interests are represented on the Monument Advisory Committee which will help to develop the management plan. Private land owners, holders of valid existing rights within the monument boundaries, and the general public will be asked to participate in the planning process.
8. Who are the members of the Advisory Committee?
The Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from adjacent communities, state and County government, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and other local organizations.
9. How are the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians involved in the planning effort?
The agencies will consult with representatives of the tribe during the preparation and implementation of the management plan.
10. Will the area remain open to motorized vehicles?
Although some vehicle access currently exists, much of the area within the monument is currently classified as wilderness, or is otherwise inaccessible to vehicles due to rugged terrain. Interim monument management will continue in a manner substantially consistent with existing management. Some changes in designations may occur as a result of actions needed to protect bighorn sheep and other species.
11. How does monument designation affect mineral rights?
Federal lands within the monument are withdrawn from mineral leasing and from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws. Valid existing rights within the monument boundary are not affected.
12. Will the agencies seek to acquire private lands within the monument boundaries?
Agencies may seek to acquire additional lands within the monument boundaries. Such acquisitions may only occur by donation, or by exchange or purchase from a willing seller. Fair market value will be offered for land acquired within the monument. Permanent conservation easements may also be sought to further the purposes of the monument while retaining land in non-Federal ownership.
13. Are grazing rights be affected by monument designation?
Existing grazing rights are not affected by monument designation.
14. Is this the first step toward the creation of a national park?
No. An Act of Congress would be required to create a national park and national parks are managed by the National Park Service.
15. Can I hunt in the monument?
The BLM and Forest Service permits hunting within the National Monument in accordance with applicable laws of the United States and the State of California. Please check with each agency to determine regulations.