President Obama created three new national monuments via executive order Friday, setting aside more than 1 million acres of public land in three states.
• Berryessa Snow Mountain in northern California, a woodlands landscape some 100 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area that supports a wide of variety of wildlife, and accommodates recreational activity that includes hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking and rafting. If you look at this website, you see that the land has its champions.
• Waco Mammoth in Texas, some 107 acres about halfway between Dallas and Austin that features the remains of two dozen Columbian Mammoths. The bones are more than 65,000 years old. This site doesn’t seem to have a non-profit behind it, just the city of Waco, Texas.
• Basin and Range in Nevada, some 700,000 acres of mountains and valleys about two hours from Las Vegas. It features rock art dating back 4,000 years. Here are the details of this site.
Obama’s issued the orders under the federal Antiquities Act of 1906, a law he has now used to establish or expand 19 national monuments. An administration statement said “Altogether, he has protected more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters, more than any other President.”
National monuments are the simplest way to protect land because the President can declare them without Congress’ approval. Once the land is under the National Park Service, it can be “promoted” to national park status. This is what happened to Congaree National Park in South Carolina.