Where will the West’s next national monument be?

Bears Ears isn’t the only local effort to get Obama to designate protections before he leaves office.

 

While President Barack Obama has already designated or expanded 27 national monuments in the past eight years, more than any other administration, there are still efforts in many Western states pushing for the designation. Our map below shows the most well-known efforts such as Bears Ears and Gold Butte, as well as lesser-known efforts you may not have heard about.

Click on each dot for descriptions of the proposal. Since Dec. 28, Obama has designated an additional five monuments in the West. This map has been updated to highlight those proposals. Outside of the West, during Obama's waning days in office, he also designated three new monuments in the South on Jan. 12. 

Most monuments are managed by the National Park Service, though some are the purview of the Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service or the Bureau of Land Management. A designation doesn’t necessarily bring new funding, but usually creates stricter regulations for use that protect historical or natural landmarks. “Existing rights” that can include anything from property access and grazing to drilling and mining often remain intact but can be curtailed. Each monument’s regulations are unique and are outlined in management plans created by federal agencies, in consultation with locals.

Monuments can be created by an act of Congress, or via executive order of the president under the Antiquities Act of 1906. For the latter, a grassroots effort first must present a proposal to agencies in Washington that oversee current management of the area, such as the Interior Department. The secretary of Interior generally makes a recommendation to the president, who makes a final decision.

In California, national monument proponents are urging President Obama to add several thousand more acres in six coastal areas to the existing California Coastal Monument. It currently includes 20,000 rocks, islands and reefs within 12 nautical miles of the California coast. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Reps. Lois Capps, Anna Eshoo and Jared Huffman are leading the effort to add the new sites.

*The interactive map was updated with the Owyhee Canyonlands proposed designation.

Paige Blankenbuehler is assistant editor and Tay Wiles is associate editor at High Country News. Think we're missing a monument proposal on our map? Email us: [email protected]Homepage photo of Cathedral Rock in Arizona, by Derek von Briesen.

High Country News Classifieds
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • NATURE EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    Our mission is to inspire a life-long connection to nature and community through creative exploration of the outdoors. We are seeking an educational leader who...
  • DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING DIRECTOR
    The Development and Marketing Director is a senior position responsible for the execution of all development and marketing strategies to raise funds and increase public...
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Coordinates all Wyoming Wildlife Federation philanthropic activities. Tasks include identification, recruitment, and retention of donors, organizing fundraising events, and assisting with grant writing.
  • REALTOR NEEDS A REMOTE ASSISTANT
    This is a business assistant position, The working hours are flexible and you can chose to work from anywhere of your choice, the pay is...
  • CORPORATE & GRANTS PARTNER MANAGER
    Forever Our Rivers Foundation Corporate Partnerships Manager February 2020 www.ForeverOurRivers.org Forever Our Rivers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was formed in late 2016 with the mission...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Central Oregon LandWatch is seeking an Executive Director to advance our mission and oversee the development of the organization. Job Description: The Executive Director oversees...
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • MEDIA DIRECTOR
    Love working with the media? Shine a spotlight on passionate, bold activists fighting for wild lands, endangered species, wild rivers and protecting the climate.
  • STAFF ATTORNEY - NEVADA
    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking an attorney to expand our litigation portfolio in Nevada. Come join our hard-hitting team as we fight for...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Montana Wildlife Federation seeks an energetic leader to advance our mission, sustain our operations, and grow our grassroots power. For a full position description,...
  • HISTORIC COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITY IN DOWNTOWN NOGALES
    Nogales. 3 active lower spaces and upper floor with lots of potential. 520-245-9000 [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • DIRECTOR, TEXAS WATER PROGRAMS
    The National Wildlife Federation seeks a Director to lead our water-related policy and program work in Texas, with a primary focus on NWF's signature Texas...
  • SPLIT CREEK RANCH
    Spectacular country home on 48 acres with Wallowa River running through it! 541-398-1148 www.RubyPeakRealty.com
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...
  • NEW MEXICO GILA NATIONAL FOREST HORSE RANCH
    43 acres in the Gila National Forest. Horse facility, custom home. Year-round outdoor living. REDUCED to $999,000, 575-536-3109.
  • EVERLAND MOUNTAIN RETREAT
    Everland Mountain Retreat includes 318 mountaintop acres with a 3,200 square foot lodge and two smaller homes. Endless vistas of the Appalachian mountains, open skies,...
  • COPPER CANYON MEXICO CAMPING & BACKPACKING
    Camping, hiking, backpacking, R2R2R, Tarahumara Easter, Mushroom Festival, www.coppercanyontrails.org.