State Legislation Would Restore Hunting Within Mojave’s Castle Mountains National Monument

The following press release is courtesy of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers:

National Park Service trail cam photo

Legislation to Restore Hunting to California’s Castle Mountains, Improve Public Land Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Mojave National Preserve Boundary Adjustment Act (S. 4132), new legislation introduced today in the U.S. Senate by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), would once again allow hunting on lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS) currently within the Castle Mountains National Monument.  

“In our steadfast commitment to public access and firm belief that hunters serve as critical partners in wildlife and habitat conservation efforts, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has long sought to restore hunting activities on the lands within the Castle Mountains National Monument in southern California,” said Patrick Berry, BHA president and CEO. “We extend our appreciation to Sen. Padilla for his leadership introducing the Mojave National Preserve Boundary Adjustment Act, which would transfer the more than 20,000 acres of this national monument to the adjacent Mojave National Preserve and thereby restore public hunting access while maintaining the conservation of habitat for species such as desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and quail.”  

Hunting is prohibited on public lands managed by the NPS except when authorized by Congress. When the Castle Mountains National Monument was designated, those lands previously managed by the Bureau of Land Management were transferred to the jurisdiction of the NPS and hunting opportunity was incidentally lost. This legislation would continue NPS management of these lands, but incorporate them into the adjacent Mojave National Preserve, where Congress explicitly authorized hunting with its establishment under the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. Historic efforts have sought to include these lands within the Mojave National Preserve and this legislation would achieve that intent. Doing so would also improve management by consolidating contiguous units of public land that are managed under the same authority.

“The California Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has long been committed to the iconic, austere landscape of the Mojave Desert through habitat stewardship projects and the annual youth quail hunt,” said Eric Hanson, chair of the California Chapter of BHA. “Despite the loss of hunting access to the Castle Mountains, the chapter has continued to work with the National Park Service and partner organizations to restore critical habitat infrastructure for desert bighorn sheep within the national monument. We thank Sen. Padilla for his leadership on the Mojave National Preserve Boundary Adjustment Act and we look forward to restoring our access and connection to this cherished area.”  

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.