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 sierraclub.org/monuments.
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Surrounding Canyonlands National Park, 1.4 million acres of stunning mesas and plateaus are frequented by hikers, climbers, and rafters but vulnerable to off-road vehicles and oil and gas development.