U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked President Barack Obama to bypass Congress and create three national monuments in the California desert.
The California Democrat's proposals would give federal protection to more than 1 million acres of mountain ranges, sandy expanses and forests running roughly between Palm Springs and the Nevada border.
The area is home to mountain lions, the California desert tortoise and bighorn sheep.
Feinstein has been unable to move the proposals through Congress because of conflicts among off-roaders, hunters, environmentalists, and mining and renewable-energy interests.
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the senator decided to ask Obama to act unilaterally to create the monuments.
In a letter this month, she asks Obama to designate monuments known as Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains.