A Treasured Place, Fort Ord

Fort Ord, California 1917 – 1994
A National Monument

Fort Ord, California (1917-1994) holds a treasured place within my heart. Many moves later, there hasn’t been a single other location I’ve wanted to call home.

I didn’t need President Barack Obama to designate Fort Ord a national monument under the 1906 Antiquities Act, but I’m happy he did. Fort Ord earned monumental status for me that day long ago when I first arrived in Monterey, California.

National Monument status will help protect one of the crown jewels of California’s coast. The approximate 14,650 acreage included in the monument is located on Fort Ord’s eastern half.

The monument does not include the campus of California State University, Monterey Bay, the oceanfront lands along Highway 1 that make up Fort Ord Dunes State Park, or hundreds of homes and businesses located in the towns of Seaside and Marina.

The monument—supervised by the Bureau of Land Management—initially includes 7,200 acres that’s now open for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling. An additional 7,450 acres are expected to be cleaned and ready for use by 2019. These additional ‘recreational’ acres are the scene of decades of unexploded shells and other ordnances that were once used for artillery practice.

Almost twenty years after the closure of Fort Ord, the surrounding communities still feel the economic hit. The military made up the economic third leg of an area rich in tourism and agriculture. The business leaders of the surrounding cities hope that designating the former Fort Ord a national monument will not only increase tourism but also facilitate deals to build hundreds of new homes and several retail outlets on the property.

Since 1906 when President Teddy Roosevelt established the Antiquities Act, nearly every president has used it to provide special protection to federal lands of national importance. Congress has upgraded some national monuments to national parks. Perhaps some day, Fort Ord, California, will also have this distinction.

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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8 Responses to A Treasured Place, Fort Ord

  1. Darington Forbes says:

    Having to move my sons from Fort Ord was the hardest thing I have ever done. To this day they still make ma aware of it. A truly beautiful place to live.

    • Hello Darington: Were you at Fort Ord until closure or what was your status, if you don’t mind my asking. We were sure we would retire there although I’d had offers for promotion to DC. I held out as long as I could. I’m with you, leaving Fort Ord was indeed the hardest move I ever made in my life. I had to travel a lot of the time just to live there but it was worth it, in my opinion.
      We always thought we would go back to Monterey to retire but we found the best medical care we had ever had for my husband where we landed, so this is home for now. Thanks for stopping in to read with me.

  2. Good morning, Natalie. Tony Bennet left his heart in San Francisco–but mine belongs to the Central Coast of California. In my opinion, it truly is heaven on earth.

  3. Sounds incredible!!! I so hope to visit someday…beautiful!

  4. Never been to Fort Ord, but they could designate Fort Polk, Louisiana, as a National Hellhole. I’ve never talked to anyone who was ever stationed there who would disagree.

  5. We can only hope for the national park distinction, eh? I know it would be an added draw for me to visit again, that’s for sure. What a gorgeous place, isn’t it? You know already that it holds a particularly fond place in my heart since I lived in the area for a summer and my boyfriend of seven years grew up in Salinas and we visited Monterey and Carmel many times. Hopefully it will be designated as” special” as it deserves.

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