Fort Ord National Monument
- Location: Monterey, CA
- Presidential Proclamation: April 20, 2012
- Size: 14,651 acres
- Managing agency: Bureau of Land Management
- Visitation has increased dramatically since designation: from 40,000 visitors before designation to 400,000, according to the BLM.
- Editorial: Ft. Ord: Monumental achievement, KSBW.com Action News 8, April 26, 2012
- Editorial: Leveling the playing field at Fort Ord, Monterey County Herald, 4/23/2012
- Dennis Donohue: A monumental achievement for Salinas, The Californian, May 10, 2012
- Barry Tompkins: Hats off to training ground of finely tuned soldiers, Marin Independent Journal, May 27, 2012
“Many of the soldiers who went through Basic and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Ord lost their lives in service to our country. In memory of the soldiers who did not return home to their family and friends, I would like to thank President Obama for honoring them for answering our Nation’s call and for recognizing their contributions and sacrifices in war,” Gordon Smith, Vietnam Veteran and past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5888, Santa Cruz
The protection of the Fort Ord area will maintain its historical and cultural significance, attract tourists and recreationalists from near and far, and enhance its unique natural resources, for the enjoyment of all Americans.
Designated in April 20, 2012, the national monument, located in Monterey County, CA, permanently protects approximately 15,000 acres of public land, honoring our country’s rich military legacy while preserving some of the last open space and most important wildlife habitat in the region. The monument also maintains public access to the area for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and other outdoor recreation activities.
In the heart of California’s Central Coast, the former Fort Ord encompasses a sweeping landscape of vivid beauty and rich natural diversity. One of the few remaining expanses of large, contiguous open space in the increasingly developed Monterey Bay area, this area is a rolling landscape long treasured for recreation, scientific research, outdoor education, and historical significance.
The area is also notable for its historical significance, including its role in the Spanish settlement of California; six miles of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail run through the national monument. The designation also protects tribal resources.
The area’s open, contiguous landscape owes its undeveloped state in large part to its role as a U.S. Army facility. While the former Fort Ord has few remaining historic structures, today thousands of veterans carry the memory of its dramatic landscape as their first taste of Army life, as a final stop before deploying to war, or as a home base during their military career. These lands are an historical link to the heroism and dedication of the men and women who served our Nation and fought in the major conflicts of the 20th century.
The Fort Ord area is also significant because of its rich biodiversity and important Central Coast habitats, supporting a diverse group of rare and endemic species of plants and animals that are managed through a multi-agency, community-led management plan. It is one of the few remaining places in the world where large expanses of coastal scrub and live oak woodland and savanna habitat, mixed with rare vernal pools, exist in a contiguous, interconnected landscape.
Visitation to Fort Ord has increased dramatically — from 40,000 visitors a year in 1999 to 400,000 since the Fort Ord National Monument was established in 2012. Today, this expansive, historic landscape provides opportunities for solitude and adventure to nearly 100,000 visitors each year. One of the newly completed trailheads is already getting heavy use http://www.ftordbeta.org/kids/
The national monument is part of the BLM-managed National Conservation Lands.
The local community demonstrated overwhelming support from veterans, the business community, recreational users and local elected officials for protecting the public lands at Fort Ord as a national monument. The California delegation – Rep. Sam Farr, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein – expressed their enthusiastic support for a national monument.
The monument effort was supported through resolutions of support from the Monterey County, and the Cities of Pacific Grove, Salinas, and Seaside. The designation was also called for by the Monterey County Mayors Association, the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) as well as local businesses, community organizations and recreation groups.
In January 2012, then-Secretary of Interior Kan Salazar held a public meeting to discuss a national monument designation with the community.
The designation was also called for by local businesses, community organizations and recreation groups,
Support from national veterans groups including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Vet Voice Foundation.