Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) today hailed President Barack Obama's decision to designate thousands of acres of the former Fort Ord as the Fort Ord National Monument. Congressman Farr continuously lobbied President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in support of the National Monument designation, making his final pitch directly to President Obama during a recent trip to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.
"Mission accomplished!," said Congressman Farr. "It was a tough task that required relentless pushing from Washington and the Central Coast. But as a result our community now has a new national monument to enjoy and a new tourist attraction to support our local economies. The Fort Ord Soldiers National Monument will also help honor the legacy of Fort Ord, the soldiers who served their and the history that has come to define the Central Coast."
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently manages 7,200 acres of the former Fort Ord military installation that was transferred from the Army in 1996 under the Fort Ord Base Reuse Plan. Once the Army completes their clean-up, an additional 7,450 acres will be transferred to the BLM. The President's action will designate these lands as a National Monument and will solidify the long term conservation of those federal lands. The new designation also has the potential to increase tourism and support the Central Coast economy.
Congressman Farr travelled with President Obama a week ago on Air Force One to the Summit of the America, and had the chance to personally lobby the president to finalize this designation. "The Administration was wavering on making this designation but I used the time on Air Force One to make a pitch to the President that this would mean new jobs on the Central Coast," said Rep. Farr. Following that conversation Congressman Farr followed up with calls to the President's Deputy Chief of Staff, as well as providing the White House with statistics on job creation on the Central Coast due to increased tourism and outdoor activities.
President Obama utilized the powers available to him under Antiquities Act of 1906 to bestow the National Monument status to the former Fort Ord land.