Yesterday, August 25, 2016, was the 100th Anniversary of the Creation of the National Park Service which administers over 400 National Parks, National Monuments,and National Historic Sites. How many have you visited? The following is a repost of my blog on the 20 most popular National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites in the US.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah
Its almost the end of summer and time to think of visiting the nearest national monument and Landmark near you. This will save you gas money and probably these places are less crowded if you compare it to visiting a National Park. So what is the difference between a National Monument/Landmark versus the popular National Parks?
A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks. However, areas within and extending beyond national parks, monuments, and national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting.
National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service(NPS), United States Forest Service(USFS), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), or Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming, on September 24, 1906. He established eighteen national monuments, although only nine still retain that designation. Fifteen presidents have created national monuments since the program began; only Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush did not. Bill Clinton created the most monuments, nineteen, and expanded three others. Jimmy Carter protected vast parts of Alaska, proclaiming fifteen national monuments, some of which later were promoted to national parks. The most recent national monument designated by Presidential Proclamation was by George W. Bush on January 6, 2009. Three marine locations in the central Pacific Ocean were protected, covering a total of 195,274 square miles (505,760 km2). The most recent monument, Prehistoric Trackways, was established by an Act of Congress, signed into law on March 30, 2009.
Concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts—collectively termed antiquities—on western federal lands prompted the legislation. Its purpose was to allow the president to quickly preserve public land without waiting for legislation to pass through an unconcerned Congress. The ultimate goal was to protect all historic and prehistoric sites on U.S. federal lands.
Twenty-seven states have national monuments, as do the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Minor Outlying Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Arizona, with eighteen, has the largest number of national monuments, followed by New Mexico with twelve and California with ten. Fifty-five national monuments protect places of natural significance, including ten geological sites, seven marine sites, and five volcanic sites. Twenty-two national monuments are associated with Native Americans. Twenty-three are other historical sites, including ten forts. The total national monuments and landmarks in US is 100. I will just give a short description , agency in-charge and coordinates of the 20 most popular and visited national monuments as follows:
Of the 20 listed below, Macrine and I had visited only six since the 1960's. How many in the list have you visited ? I bet you must have visited the Statue of Liberty in New York City and probably the George Washington birthplace in Virginia.
1. Admiralty Island USFS Alaska57°38′N 134°21′W / 57.64°N 134.35°W / 57.64; -134.35 (Admiralty Island) 01978-12-01 December 1, 1978 Occupying most of Admiralty Island, the 7th largest in the United States, this monument is part of Tongass National Forest in the Alaska Panhandle. It has a large population of grizzly, black, and brown bears, as well as whales, mountain goats, and deer. Most of the monument has been declared the Kootznoowoo Wilderness, restricting future development. The Greens Creek mine lies within the monument.
2.African Burial Ground NPS New York40°42′52″N 74°00′15″W / 40.7144°N 74.0042°W / 40.7144; -74.0042 (African Burial Ground) 02006-02-27 February 27, 2006 Re-discovered in 1991 during excavations for a new federal building, this former burial ground that contains the remains of more than 400 free and enslaved Africans buried during the 17th and 18th centuries was designated a National Historic Landmark memorial in 1993.
3. Bandelier NPS New Mexico35°47′N 106°16′W / 35.78°N 106.27°W / 35.78; -106.27 (Bandelier) 01916-02-11 February 11, 1916 A historic district, Bandelier contains Frijoles Canyon, which contains Ancestral Pueblo homes, kivas, rock paintings and petroglyphs.
4. California Coastal BLM California36°53′N 122°11′W / 36.89°N 122.18°W / 36.89; -122.18 (California Coastal) 02000-01-11 January 11, 2000 This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings from the coast of California to a distance of 12 nautical miles (22 km), along the entire 840-mile (1,350 km) long California coastline.
5. Craters of the Moon NPS, BLM Idaho43°25′N 113°31′W / 43.42°N 113.52°W / 43.42; -113.52 (Craters of the Moon) 01924-05-02 May 2, 1924 One of the best preserved flood basalt areas in the continental U.S. contains three lava fields along the Great Rift of Idaho as well as the world's deepest open rift cracks and other volcanic features.
6. Devils Tower NPS Wyoming44°35′N 104°43′W / 44.59°N 104.72°W / 44.59; -104.72 (Devils Tower) 01906-09-24 September 24, 1906 The tower is a monolithic igneous intrusion of volcanic neck rising dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain. Proclaimed by Theodore Roosevelt, this was the first national monument.
7. El Morro NPS New Mexico35°02′N 108°21′W / 35.04°N 108.35°W / 35.04; -108.35 (El Morro) 01906-12-08 December 8, 1906 On the site of an ancient east-west trail is a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base. There are inscriptions from the 17th century as well as older petroglyphs made by the Anasazi.
8. Fort McHenry NPS Maryland39°15′47″N 76°34′44″W / 39.263°N 76.579°W / 39.263; -76.579 (Fort McHenry) 01925-03-03 March 3, 1925 The only place designated a national monument and historic shrine, Fort McHenry is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812 when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy. It inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner".
9. George Washington Birthplace NPS Virginia38°11′10″N 76°55′50″W / 38.1861°N 76.9305°W / 38.1861; -76.9305 (George Washington's Birthplace) 01930-01-23 January 23, 1930 Representative of 18th-century Virginia tobacco farms, this site is the birthplace and boyhood environment of George Washington. The entrance includes a Memorial Shaft obelisk of Vermont marble that is a one-tenth scale replica of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Also within the monument are the historic birthplace home area, a kitchen house, and the Washington family burial ground.
10. George Washington Carver NPS Missouri36°59′10″N 94°21′14″W / 36.986°N 94.354°W / 36.986; -94.354 (George Washington Carver) 01943-07-14 July 14, 1943 The site preserves Moses Carver's farm, which was the boyhood home of George Washington Carver, a scientist and educator who developed many uses for peanuts. It was the first national monument dedicated to an African-American and first to a non-president.
11. Giant Sequoia USFS California36°02′N 118°30′W / 36.04°N 118.50°W / 36.04; -118.50 (Giant Sequoia National Monument) 02000-04-15 April 15, 2000 The monument includes 38 of the 39 Giant Sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Forest, amounting to about half of the sequoia groves currently in existence. This includes one of the ten largest Giant Sequoias, the Boole Tree. Its two parts are around Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.
12. Gila Cliff Dwellings NPS New Mexico33°14′N 108°17′W / 33.24°N 108.28°W / 33.24; -108.28 (Gila Cliff Dwellings) 01907-11-16 November 16, 1907 Located within the Gila Wilderness, the people of the Mogollon culture lived in these cliff dwellings 180 feet (55 m) above the canyon floor from the 1280s through the early 14th century. They lived in five caves with 46 rooms. Henry B. Ailman discovered them in 1878.
John 13. Lava Beds NPS California41°43′N 121°31′W / 41.71°N 121.51°W / 41.71; -121.51 (Lava Beds) 01925-11-21 November 21, 1925 This is the site of the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America. It also includes Petroglyph Point, one of the largest panels of Native American rock art. The monument lies on the northeast flank of the Medicine Lake Volcano, the largest volcano in the Cascade Range.
14. Montezuma Castle NPS Arizona34°37′N 111°50′W / 34.61°N 111.84°W / 34.61; -111.84 (Montezuma Castle) 01906-12-08 December 8, 1906 Montezuma Castle features well-preserved cliff dwellings built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people around 1400 AD. Several Hopi clans trace their roots to the area, which is not connected to Montezuma. The monument also includes the Montezuma Well, which has been used for irrigation since the 8th century.
15. Muir Woods NPS California37°53′N 122°35′W / 37.89°N 122.58°W / 37.89; -122.58 (Muir Woods) 01908-01-09 January 9, 1908 Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it protects one of the last old growth Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) groves in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as one of the most easily accessed.
16. Natural Bridges NPS Utah37°35′N 110°00′W / 37.58°N 110°W / 37.58; -110 (Natural Bridges) 01908-04-16 April 16, 1908 Located at the junction of White Canyon and Armstrong Canyon, it is part of the Colorado River drainage. It features the second- and third-largest natural bridges in the world, carved from the white Triassic sandstone of the Cedar Mesa Formation that gives White Canyon its name.
17. Petroglyph NPS New Mexico35°10′N 106°46′W / 35.16°N 106.76°W / 35.16; -106.76 (Petroglyph) 01990-06-27 June 27, 1990 This monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources, including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 25,000 images carved by native peoples and early Spanish settlers. It lies on West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment.
18. Rainbow Bridge NPS Utah37°05′N 110°58′W / 37.08°N 110.96°W / 37.08; -110.96 (Rainbow Bridge) 01910-05-30 May 30, 1910 One of the largest in the world, Rainbow Bridge is the most famous example of a natural bridge as well as the most accessible. It stands 290 feet (88 m) tall and spans 275 feet (84 m) wide; the top of the bridge is 42 feet (13 m) thick and 33 feet (10 m) wide. It was made from sandstone formed during the Triassic and the Jurassic periods.
19. Statue of Liberty NPS New York, New Jersey40°41′N 74°02′W / 40.69°N 74.04°W / 40.69; -74.04 (Statue of Liberty) 01924-10-15 October 15, 1924 This iconic statue, built in 1886 on Liberty Island and 151 feet (46 m) tall, commemorates the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and is a gesture of friendship from France to the U.S. Liberty Enlightening the World is a symbol of welcoming immigrants to the U.S. and is listed as a World Heritage Site. Ellis Island, where 12 million immigrants entering the U.S. passed through, is included in the monument.
20. White Sands NPS New Mexico32°47′N 106°10′W / 32.78°N 106.17°W / 32.78; -106.17 (White Sands) 01933-07-25 July 25, 1933 Located in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin valley area, White Sands consists of the southern part of a 275square miles (710 km2) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is completely within the White Sands Missile Range and is subject to closure when tests are conducted.