With only three days left before George W. Bush would become president, the Clinton administration pressed forward with its land-protection plans and created seven new national monuments.
The Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona
is the largest of the pack, encompassing over 486,000 acres of
desert northeast of Organ Pipe National Monument. The area will be
managed by the BLM, but about 84,000 acres are now within the Air
Force's Goldwater Bombing Range. Mike Taylor, BLM's Phoenix Field
Manager, says the military acreage will be officially added to the
new monument in November, but overflights will be allowed to
The new Upper Missouri River Breaks
Monument in central Montana will "diversify the portfolio" of
American protected areas, says Bob Ekey of the Wilderness Society.
The monument includes part of the Lewis and Clark trail and one of
the last free-flowing stretches of the
The other new Western monuments are
Carrizo Plain in Central California, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks in New
Mexico, Pompeys Pillar in Montana, and Minidoka Internment in
Idaho. The Idaho site will commemorate Japanese-Americans interned
during World War II. A seventh monument was created in the U.S.
Although questions remain about
the monuments' fate once Bush takes office, environmentalists
haven't expressed concern. "There's no authorization in the
Antiquities Act for the president to abolish monuments," says the
Wilderness Society's Dave Alberswerth. "The trend in history has
been more protection for monuments rather than