President Obama signed five more places into the sacrosanct fold
of national land-hood on Monday under the nearly 107-year-old Antiquities
Make room for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, the Río Grande
del Norte National Monument, the San Juan Islands National Monument, the Charles
Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, and the First State National
Monument on your bucket list.
First we'll tell you a little bit about the path to protection for national monuments, then we'll show you why you should visit these five new destinations.
The Waiting Game
The Antiquities Act lets the president make national monuments of public
lands with "historic or scientific" interest, and fast.
While Congress can establish national monuments, too, fast is
unlikely — which is just what Antiquities is for, according to Meghan Kissell,
campaign communications director for the nonprofit Conservation Lands Foundation.
See: the Grand Canyon.
"There were tremendous fights for years about what to do with
that area," Kissell said. "By the time it was designated as a
national monument, there had been bills in congress for a dozen year or so.
There were a lot of people arguing about what the value of it was."
President Theodore Roosevelt secured the Grand Canyon as a
national monument in 1908 (two days after Muir Woods). It became a national
park in 1919 via Congress, which alone has authority to establish national