The Slatest

The United States Is Creating “the Second-Largest Desert Preserve in the World”

The Mojave Desert.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Hey! The news isn’t all bad:

On Friday, Obama will designate more than 1.8 million acres of California desert for protection with the creation of three national monuments: Castle Mountains, Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow. The new monuments will connect three existing sites — Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks and the Mojave National Preserve — to create the second-largest desert preserve in the world.

That’s from the Washington Post. (The world’s largest preserve, apparently, remains the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, which means we need to find some more desert land to add to this thing so that USA = No. 1!)

The California designation was requested by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Los Angeles Times reports, and consists of land that was largely “purchased more than a decade ago by private citizens and the Wildlands Conservancy” and then donated to the federal government.

Species found on the land include “bighorn sheep, tortoises, fringe-toed lizards and more than 250 types of birds.” Here’s a fringe-toed lizard:



Good lizard.