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Crowd celebrates desert national monuments

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Much like his flute, Brian Woodyard said he's been in tune with Mother Nature for all his life. 

"It's inspiration," Woodyard said. "Everything in nature is an inspiration. There is nothing that cleanses the soul like being in a forest and feeling a light rain drop, or a dew falling off the canopy of the trees. There's nothing more peaceful than that."

Thursday, hundreds came to usher in about 2 million acres of protected land in California. 

President Obama designated the Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains national monuments earlier this year, permanently protecting the special desert lands.

A move many said will offer an opportunity to delve into the wilderness to detach from the digital world, and attach to nature. 

"People are involved with technology," Woodyard said. "They get their faces in their iPhones and computers, and they never get out into the wilderness. So this is something that is extremely important for people to touch base with."  

"These students are our future," Rachel Maryanski, a teacher at The Grove School, said. "And if there's anything to invest in, it would be our youngsters out there. This is what we want them to care about in the future." 

As many hope to preserve land that's stood the test of time for more generations to enjoy. 

"If we don't preserve, these things won't be around," Woodyard said. "We've got to take advantage of these opportunities to set land aside, to set nature aside, [and] to create those places where nature can be what it is supposed to be. "

Organizers of Thursday's celebration said honored guests included Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell; California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird; Congressman Raul Ruiz (CA-36); Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor, San Bernardino National Forest, U.S. Forest Service; and San Bernardino County Supervisor James Ramos.

White House statement on national monuments

Desert Mirage High School students were also special guests Thursday, who wrote about 80 letters to President Obama urging him to preserve the monuments.

KESQ News Team

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