In honor of Earth Day on Sunday, President Obama will today designate Fort Ord - a former military base on California's central coast - as the country's newest National Monument.
The fort, which closed in 1994, has become a popular site for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, playing host to more than 100,000 visitors a year, according to the White House.
"Fort Ord's dramatic landscape lives in the memories of thousands of veterans as their first taste of Army life, as a final stop before deploying to war, or as a home base during their military career," Obama said in a statement.
"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."
The president's action will now afford the 28,000-acre site north of Monterey protection by the federal government as a conservation and recreation area, officials say. It will be closed to oil and gas drilling and mining and receive funds for management and upkeep through the Department of the Interior.
The designation, which does not require congressional approval under the Antiquities Act, Obama's second of his term. In November 2011, he named Fort Monroe a national monument.