Biden to designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument today
President Joe Biden will formally designate Avi Kwa Ame, meaning “Spirit Mountain” in Mojave, as a national monument during the White House Conservation in Action Summit.
President Joe Biden will designate Avi Kwa Ame as Nevada’s fourth national monument Tuesday, a White House official said.
Biden will deliver remarks at the White House Conservation in Action Summit at the Department of the Interior, where he will announce the establishment of the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument as well as the establishment of the Castner Range National Monument located in Texas, the White House official said in a statement.
The establishment of the national monuments will be the president’s “boldest steps to date to protect the power and promise of America’s extraordinary national wonders,” the White House official said.
The designation of Avi Kwa Ame, which means “Spirit Mountain” in Mojave, will protect 450,000 acres in Southern Nevada from development, the president’s most consequential land conservation so far in his administration and will help him meet the country’s national conservation goal established through an executive order.
Avi Kwa Ame has been a popular site for outdoor recreation for years, including hiking, hunting and off-roading. The public lands are also home to geological features, Joshua trees, petroglyphs and threatened wildlife such as the Mojave Desert tortoise and the desert bighorn sheep.
Spirit Mountain is about a 1½-hour drive from Las Vegas, past the town of Searchlight and near the town of Cal-Nev-Ari, although the national monument designation would protect the surrounding area stretching from the Newberry mountains in the east to the New York South McCullough, Castle and Piute mountains in the west.
The area is of cultural significance to Native American tribes in the area who believe the land is sacred. About a dozen Yuman-speaking tribes have traced their origins to Avi Kwa Ame. For instance the Fort Mojave Tribe, which was instrumental in pushing for the national monument designation, say their creator placed them on the land to care for it.
“Avi Kwa Ame is a place where we make the connection to the land, the place where we make connection to the water,” Fort Mojave Chairman Timothy Williams previously told the Review-Journal. “It’s definitely a place of spiritual importance.”
In addition to designating Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument, Biden will also direct Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to consider initiating a new national marine sanctuary designation in 30 days to protect U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands, nearly 500,000 square miles in the central Pacific Ocean. The islands were designated a marine national monument in 2009.
Contact Jessica Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter.