BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 532

More than 400 help dedicate Fort Ord National Monument

More than 400 military families, cyclists, hikers and other community members joined Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey at a dedication event for the nation’s newest National Monument – the 14,560-acre Fort Ord National Monument near Monterey, California. The new monument, created by Presidential Proclamation on April 20, 2012, is managed by the BLM’s Hollister Field Office.

The Secretary and Director Abbey were also joined by Rep. Sam Farr; Garrison Commander Col. Joel J. Clark; Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and BLM California State Director Jim Kenna at the event on Saturday, May 19, Armed Forces Day. (text continues below)

BLM Director Robert Abbey speaks with a Fort Ord veteran
BLM Director Robert Abbey speaks with Sgt. Allen McDonald, 88, who was stationed at Fort Ord during World War II.

“Fort Ord exemplifies the type of bottom-up, locally-driven conservation project that President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative is all about, and which we are seeing flourish across the country,” Secretary Salazar told the crowd. “It was the culmination of years of work by you, here, in Monterey to protect one of the last remaining expanses of coastal open space on the Central Coast.”

"At Fort Ord, the BLM will tell the story of the heroes who trained here and the military families who sacrifice so much to serve their country," said BLM Director Bob Abbey.  "It will be a place for Americans to explore our past while also taking advantage of the remarkable recreation opportunities this spectacular landscape has to offer."

On April 20, 2012, President Obama signed a Proclamation designating the former Fort Ord a national monument, including 7,200 acres of public lands already managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  In his proclamation, the President stated that, "The protection of the Fort Ord area will maintain its historical and cultural significance, attract tourists and recreationalists from near and far, and enhance its unique natural resources, for the enjoyment of all Americans."

The Monument also includes 7,446 acres under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army that will be transferred to the BLM when ongoing cleanup and remediation activities are complete.

The Fort Ord National Monument holds some of the last undeveloped natural areas on the Monterey Peninsula.  The BLM protects and manages 35 species of rare plants and animals along with their native coastal habitats.  Habitat preservation and conservation are primary missions for the Fort Ord Public Lands. The area is also a recreation destination, with more than 86 miles of trails for the public to explore on foot, bike or horseback and one of the key venues for the annual Sea Otter Classic—one of the largest cycling festivals in the world.

the audience salutes the Honor Guard
Veterans in the audience salute as the Presidio of Monterey Color Guard takes part in the dedication.

 mountain bikers take a photo with the Fort Ord National Monument sign
Mountain bikers celebrate by posing for a photo with the new Fort Ord National Monument sign.

people sign the old Fort Ord sign
Members of the public, including a number of veterans who saw Fort Ord during their military service, signed the former "Fort Ord Public Lands" sign.

officials at the dedication
(left to right) BLM Director Bob Abbey, World War II veteran Sgt. Allen McDonald, BLM California State Director Jim Kenna, BLM Hollister Field Office Manager Rick Cooper, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley pose after the dedication ceremony.

More photos on the BLM California Flickr page!

- Erin Curtis, BLM California Public Affairs (May 21, 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 532 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.