PROCLAMATION: Establishment of the Sonoran Desert National Monument
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            January 17, 2001


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                              A PROCLAMATION

     The Sonoran Desert National Monument is a magnificent example of
untrammeled Sonoran desert landscape.  The area encompasses a functioning
desert ecosystem with an extraordinary array of biological, scientific, and
historic resources.  The most biologically diverse of the North American
deserts, the monument consists of distinct mountain ranges separated by
wide valleys, and includes large saguaro cactus forest communities that
provide excellent habitat for a wide range of wildlife species.

     The monument?s biological resources include a spectacular diversity of
plant and animal species.  The higher peaks include unique woodland
assemblages, while the lower elevation lands offer one of the most
structurally complex examples of palo verde/mixed cacti association in the
Sonoran Desert.  The dense stands of leguminous trees and cacti are
dominated by saguaros, palo-verde trees, ironwood, prickly pear, and
cholla.  Important natural water holes, known as tinajas, exist throughout
the monument.  The endangered acuna pineapple cactus is also found in the

     The most striking aspect of the plant communities within the monument
are the abundant saguaro cactus forests.  The saguaro is a signature plant
of the Sonoran Desert.  Individual saguaro plants are indeed magnificent,
but a forest of these plants, together with the wide variety of trees,
shrubs, and herbaceous plants that make up the forest community, is an
impressive site to behold.  The saguaro cactus forests within the monument
are a national treasure, rivaling those within the Saguaro National Park.

     The rich diversity, density, and distribution of plants in the Sand
Tank Mountains area of the monument is especially striking and can be
attributed to the management regime in place since the area was withdrawn
for military purposes in 1941.  In particular, while some public access to
the area is allowed, no livestock grazing has occurred for nearly 50 years.
To extend the extraordinary diversity and overall ecological health of the
Sand Tanks Mountains area, land adjacent and with biological resources
similar to the area withdrawn for military purposes should be subject to a
similar management regime to the fullest extent possible.

     The monument contains an abundance of packrat middens, allowing for
scientific analysis of plant species and climates in past eras.  Scientific
analysis of the midden shows that the area received far more precipitation
20,000 years ago, and slowly became more arid.  Vegetation for the area
changed from juniper-oak-pinion pine woodland to the vegetation found today
in the Sonoran Desert, although a few plants from the more mesic period,
including the Kofa Mountain barberry, Arizona rosewood, and junipers,
remain on higher elevations of north-facing slopes.

     The lower elevations and flatter areas of the monument contain the
creosote-bursage plant community.  This plant community thrives in the open
expanses between the mountain ranges, and connects the other plant
communities together.  Rare patches of desert grassland can also be found
throughout the monument, especially in the Sand Tank Mountains area.  The
washes in the area support a much denser vegetation community than the
surrounding desert, including mesquite, ironwood, paloverde, desert
honeysuckle, chuperosa, and desert willow, as well as a variety of
herbaceous plants.  This vegetation offers the dense cover bird species
need for successful nesting, foraging, and escape, and birds heavily use
the washes during migration.

     The diverse plant communities present in the monument support a wide
variety of wildlife, including the endangered Sonoran pronghorn, a robust
population of desert bighorn sheep, especially in the Maricopa Mountains
area, and other mammalian species such as mule deer, javelina, mountain
lion, gray fox, and bobcat.  Bat species within the monument include the
endangered lesser long-nosed bat, the California leaf-nosed bat, and the
cave myotis.  Over 200 species of birds are found in the monument,
including 59 species known to nest in the Vekol Valley area.  Numerous
species of raptors and owls inhabit the monument, including the elf owl and
the western screech owl.  The monument also supports a diverse array of
reptiles and amphibians, including the Sonoran desert tortoise and the
red-backed whiptail.  The Bureau of Land Management has designated
approximately 25,000 acres of land in the Maricopa Mountains area as
critical habitat for the desert tortoise.  The Vekol Valley and Sand Tank
Mountain areas contain especially diverse and robust populations of
amphibians.  During summer rainfall events, thousands of Sonoran green
toads in the Vekol Valley can be heard moving around and calling out.

     The monument also contains many significant archaeological and
historic sites, including rock art sites, lithic quarries, and scattered
artifacts.  Vekol Wash is believed to have been an important prehistoric
travel and trade corridor between the Hohokam and tribes located in what is
now Mexico.  Signs of large villages and permanent habitat sites occur
throughout the area, and particularly along the bajadas of the Table Top
Mountains.  Occupants of these villages were the ancestors of today?s
O?odham, Quechan, Cocopah, Maricopa, and other tribes.  The monument also
contains a much used trail corridor 23 miles long in which are found
remnants of several important historic trails, including the Juan Bautista
de Anza National Historic Trail, the Mormon Battalion Trail, and the
Butterfield Overland Stage Route.

     Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431),
authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public
proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and
other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the
lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be
national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the
limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be

     WHEREAS, it appears that it would be in the public interest to reserve
such lands as a national monument to be known as the Sonoran Desert
National Monument.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of June
8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby
set apart and reserved as the Sonoran Desert National Monument, for the
purpose of protecting the objects identified above, all lands and interest
in lands owned or controlled by the United States within the boundaries of
the area described on the map entitled "Sonoran Desert National Monument"
attached to and forming a part of this proclamation.  The Federal land and
interests in land reserved consist of approximately 486,149 acres, which is
the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the
objects to be protected.

     For the purpose of protecting the objects identified above, all
motorized and mechanized vehicle use off road will be prohibited, except
for emergency or authorized administrative purposes.

     Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish
the jurisdiction of the State of Arizona with respect to fish and wildlife

     The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing

     All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this
monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry,
location, selection, sale, or leasing or other disposition under the public
land laws, including but not limited to withdrawal from location, entry,
and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws
relating to mineral and geothermal leasing, other than by exchange that
furthers the protective purposes of the monument.  Lands and interests in
lands within the monument not owned by the United States shall be reserved
as a part of the monument upon acquisition of title thereto by the United

     This proclamation does not reserve water as a matter of Federal law
nor relinquish any water rights held by the Federal Government existing on
this date.  The Federal land management agencies shall work with
appropriate State authorities to ensure that water resources needed for
monument purposes are available.

     The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the
Bureau of Land Management, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, to
implement the purposes of this proclama-tion.  That portion identified as
Area A on the map, however, shall be managed under the management
arrangement established by section 3 of Public Law No. 99-606, 100 Stat.
3460-61, until November 6, 2001, at which time, pursuant to section 5(a) of
Public Law No. 99-606, 100 Stat. 3462-63, the military withdrawal
terminates.  At that time, the Secretary of the Interior shall assume
management responsibility for Area A through the Bureau of Land Management.

     The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a management plan that
addresses the actions, including road closures or travel restrictions,
necessary to protect the objects identified in this proclamation.

     Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the Bureau of Land
Management in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on all
lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard to the
lands in the monument; provided, however, that grazing permits on Federal
lands within the monument south of Interstate Highway 8 shall not be
renewed at the end of their current term; and provided further, that
grazing on Federal lands north of Interstate 8 shall be allowed to continue
only to the extent that the Bureau of Land Management determines that
grazing is compatible with the paramount purpose of protecting the objects
identified in this proclamation.

     Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing
withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national monument
shall be the dominant reservation.

     Nothing in this proclamation shall preclude low level overflights of
military aircraft, the designation of new units of special use airspace, or
the use or establishment of military flight training routes over the lands
included in this proclamation.

     In order to protect the public during operations at the adjacent Barry
M. Goldwater Range, and to continue management practices that have resulted
in an exceptionally well preserved natural resource, the current procedures
for public access to the portion of the monument depicted as Area A on the
attached map shall remain in full force and effect, except to the extent
that the United States Air Force agrees to different procedures which the
Bureau of Land Management determines are compatible with the protection of
the objects identified in this proclamation.

     Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to
appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and
not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventeenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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