Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
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Monumental Places

If you're grateful that the Grand Canyon, Glacier Bay, and the Olympic Peninsula have been preserved as national parks, consider that these icons were once national monuments. The Antiquities Act of 1906 allows the president to proclaim areas of "historical or scientific interest" as national monuments, using a signature alone. The first to receive the honor was Devils Tower in Wyoming, designated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. The most recent is Fort Ord (below) along the California coast, protected in April by Barack Obama. And the largest is a marine sanctuary near Hawaii, established by George W. Bush in 2006. (Only three presidents since Roosevelt have not established a monument.) Here's a sample of places the Sierra Club is urging the president to protect, as well as a look at our newest addition. For others, go to

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Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times

Berryessa-Snow Mountain: California

Close to the San Francisco Bay Area, this proposed monument is renowned for hiking, hunting, and fishing and is home to California's second largest population of wintering bald eagles.

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