|For Immediate Release||June 9, 2000|
President Clinton today signed a proclamation creating the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in south central Oregon. The 52,000-acre monument includes Soda Mountain and surrounding lands rich in plant and animal life. Its location at the convergence of the Klamath and Cascade Mountains makes the new monument an ecological wonder with biological diversity unmatched in the Cascade Range.
A Stunning Mix of Natural Diversity. Located twenty-five miles southeast of Medford along the California border, the new monument encompasses approximately 52,000 acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with elevations ranging from 2,300 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The monument is situated at the intersection of the Cascade, Klamath, and Eastern Cascade Slope ecoregions, and species from each ecoregion meet and mix in the diverse habitats provided by the area's unique geology, climate, and topography.
The monument is home to a spectacular variety of rare and beautiful species of plants and animals, whose survival in this region depends upon its continued ecological integrity. The area supports an exceptionally high diversity of fauna, including one of the highest diversities of butterfly species of any area in the United States. The Jenny Creek portion of the monument is a globally significant center of fresh water snail diversity, and is home to three endemic fish species, including a long-isolated stock of redband trout. The area also contains old-growth habitat crucial to the threatened Northern spotted owl. The monument will protect the unique intersection of these ecoregions and their associated flora and fauna from resource exploitation and habitat degradation.
Managing the New Monument. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the area was designated as an Ecological Emphasis Area in the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan and BLM's 1995 Resource Management Plan because of its unique ecological and biological characteristics. The area is currently under a timber harvesting moratorium that the monument designation makes permanent. Grazing under the monument designation will continue while BLM completes a study to determine if continued livestock use is compatible with the protective purposes of the monument.
History and Process: Preparation of the President's Northwest Forest Plan brought the area to the attention of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. At the request of local community groups, Secretary Babbitt visited the area in October 1999 and began a dialogue about future management. He returned with Congressman Greg Walden (R-Oregon) in mid-February 2000 to continue the discussion. The Secretary held two subsequent roundtable meetings with a range of community representatives to discuss appropriate management for the area. Secretary Babbitt recommended to the President that the area be designated as a National Monument on May 31, 2000.
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