Thrice as Nice

President Obama just established three new national monuments.

July 13, 2015

A scene from Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.
Photo: Bureau of Land Management

The land that’s your land and my land grew even bigger and more beautiful on Friday, when President Obama designated three new national monuments. That means more than one million new acres of public land are now off-limits to developers—and these sites have plenty of wildlife, history, and culture worth preserving.

Just two hours from Sin City, Nevada’s Basin and Range National Monument is an undisturbed expanse of 704,000 acres. Highlights include crucial sage grouse habitat and 4,000-year-old rock art. Farther west is California’s 331,000-acre Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. This biodiversity hot spot (mountain lions, Tule elk, and black bears, oh my!) has been home to Native Americans for more than 11,000 years. And last but not least, Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas is a 107-acre paleontological site with at least 24 well-preserved Columbian mammoth fossils from 65,000 years ago, as well as other ancient animals like the saber-toothed cat and giant tortoise.

Photo: Bureau of Land ManagementRock formations in Basin and Range National Monument

So far, the president has used the Antiquities Act to establish or expand 19 national monuments, protecting more than 260 million acres. Three cheers for that! 

Photo: rbairdpccam/FlickrA mammoth fossil at Waco Mammoth National Monument

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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