The arrival of spring brings with it the inevitable question of what to do for the summer. This year, let Mission Outdoors be your guide and take advantage of the 5 new National Monuments that have been created for your enjoyment. With a diverse range of offerings, from coast to coast, we have you covered.
1. San Juan Islands National Monument
Now that the San Juan Islands have been designated as a National Monument, enjoy an active get away and witness some of America’s most spectacular scenery. The 450 islands that make up this archipelago offer endless opportunities to explore, and a kayak is just the way to do it. Paddle amongst orca whales and harbor seals while bald eagles soar overhead. Unsure where to start? Contact the outings folks at the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club for some local knowledge.
2. El Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
As we move east from Washington State we come to another natural treasure in northern New Mexico, the El Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Whether it is hiking amongst extinct volcanoes, or running the river gorge’s whitewater by kayak or raft, outdoor recreationalists will not run out of options here. While there are endless opportunities to enjoy the beautiful desert landscape of this river gorge, take some time to investigate the cultural and historical richness of this land as well. By understanding the diverse cultures that have called this region home, you will better appreciate the need to protect the land for future generations. The designation of this monument was made possible by a shared struggle comprising many constituencies, including the tribal nations, that have lived there for centuries. No matter your focus, Mission Outdoors is making it easier to experience the region. Contact The Rio Grande Chapter in New Mexico to find out more.
3. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
From the deserts of the southwest we head northeast to another site of historical and social significance in Ohio. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument honors the life of Colonel Charles Young, who served as the Army superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks before the creation of the National Park Service. Combine a visit to the Colonel’s old house with an outing led by the Miami Group of the Sierra Club for an active and educational day!
4. First State National Monument
As the first state, Delaware has been long overdue for its first National Monument. This designation makes up for that by providing visitors with access to over 1,000 acres of land, much of it with established hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, as well as riverfront access with paddling opportunities for the aquatically-inclined. Tired of all the physical activity? Visit the New Castle Court House where Abolitionists Thomas Garret and John Hunn were tried for violating the Fugitive Slave Act. The Sierra Club’s Delaware Chapter is a great place to start when planning any visit to the area.
5. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument
Our trip has taken us from sea to shining sea, down river gorges and up extinct volcanoes, and still has one stop left. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument along Maryland’s eastern shoreline commemorates Tubman’s commitment to freeing slaves. Comprised of public lands included in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, the area provides outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities to view a diverse array of species. For information about enjoying the area and potential outings in the new monument contact the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club and check out their outings calendar.
These National Monuments were created through the exhaustive efforts of local people whose common goal of preserving America’s natural and cultural history benefits us all. This summer, let Mission Outdoors help you enjoy your national heritage so that you continue to be inspired to protect it.