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Exploring America's National Monuments

08.23.16

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Exploring America's National Monuments

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  • View north from the Mount St. Helens summit. Mount Rainier (14,409') and Spirit Lake are at the center.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Mount St. Helens (8,365') from the Hummocks Trail.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Ape Caves.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Painted Hills.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Devils Postpile National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • The beach at Fort Ord State Park.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • The beach at Fort Ord State Park.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • An entrance into one of the lava tunnels at Lava Beds National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • A steel stairway reaches the interior of a lava tunnel.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Muir Woods National Monument along the Main Trail.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Inside a lava tube in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • The foothills of the Pioneer Mountains from Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Canyon De Chelly National Monument from the Spider Rock Overlook.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Kokopelli Cave paintings in Canyon De Chelly National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument was the first cultural and prehistoric site to be protected by the United States government. It was set aside in 1892 by President Benjamin Harrison.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • A series of drainages funnel and capture the wind at the Wave.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Footsteps on a sand dune in White Sands National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • White Sands National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Looking south from Sunset View into Columbine Canyon.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Metate Arch, one of the most fascinating formations in Devil's Garden..- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • The Big Room in Middle Cave, Timpanogos Cave National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Looking down Fruita Canyon to the Grand Valley below at Colorado National Monument.- Exploring America's National Monuments
  • Monument Canyon just before sunrise.- Exploring America's National Monuments
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Team

Of the many powers granted to the President of the United States, one of the most impactful is the ability to designate an area a national monument. The Antiquities Act of 1906 gave the president this power, and it has been used 121 times since then, averaging over one new national monument dedicated for every year the act has been in place. Whereas wilderness designation requires congressional approval, the president can unilaterally create a national monument, and conservationists are increasingly seeing this as a stepping stone to eventual wilderness protection, the most stringent of our land use protections.

Notably, President Barack Obama has made extensive use of the Antiquities Act, more so than any previous president. In all, he has created or expanded 23 national monuments during his two terms, protecting over 2 million acres of public land. Most recently, on February 12, 2016, President Obama designated three new national monuments in the deserts of southwestern United States, Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, and Castle Mountains. 

National monuments can be historical sites, large tracts of open land, and even old military installations. They are managed by different government agencies, but the majority are managed by the National Park Service.

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Utah

Colorado

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