Stern: Fort Ord monument is example for Castner Range
Four years ago, President Obama forever preserved a piece of our world when he designated the Fort Ord National Monument.
With its rolling landscape, he knew that this former military base’s qualities, which included recreation, scientific research, outdoor education, and historical significance, was a national treasure that should be celebrated by all Americans.
Today, the former U.S. Army base, located alongside the Monterey Bay, welcomes more than 400,000 visitors a year as outdoor enthusiasts enjoy this pristine beauty.
The monument, which is about 15,000 acres in size, was a former artillery range, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers trained from its origins in 1917 to its closure in the early 1990s.
Today, about half its acreage is presently open to the public as outdoor enthusiasts can enjoys its beauty by foot, bike and horseback.
The remaining land, which is currently closed as it is being surveyed and “cleaned” for munitions and other hazards, also will be available for recreational use. That’s because FORT Friends, along with many other leaders of our community, knew that we had to make our voice heard in order to one day have access to the federal public lands.
We worked with our local government to create public access corridors to the federal trail system and successfully lobbied President Obama to designate its entire landscape as the Fort Ord National Monument in April 2012.