On April 20 President Obama signed the proclamation to make Fort Ord a National Monument under the Antiquities Act. The former military base will remain open to the public with restricted no trespassing areas for research and safety reasons. Fort Ord offers over 80 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback-riding trails. It was known as the largest military base at the time it was closed and it is a great tourist attraction with over 100,000 visitors annually. About 14,650 acres will be set aside on the eastern half of the base to become Fort Ord National Monument.
“This national monument will not only protect one of the crown jewels of California’s coast, but will also honor the heroism and dedication of men and women who served our nation and fought in the major conflicts of the 20th century,” Obama said in a statement.
Fort Ord was home for over a million artillery-training soldiers during World War I through the early 1990s. When the base was closed in 1994, the army donated the land to the state. Shortly after, Cal State Monterey Bay was built in the west side of the former military grounds.
One of the largest events held annually is the Sea Otter Classic in April with approximately 10,000 bicyclist and 50,000 spectators.
After various propositions to build on it, “Keep Fort Ord Wild” campaign has been a strong advocate to saving the land. Today, most propositions have been denied and the land remains open to the public.
The new monument will be maintained and operated by the federal Bureau of Land Management. After the declaration, all oil and gas drilling is banned. It will give opportunity for future generations to enjoy the open land and learn the history behind Fort Ord. As a large military community, this is very important. It will honor and recognize the soldiers who served there.