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National Monuments

National Monuments are special areas of public land designated by public proclamation by the President or by Congress, to protect historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, or other objects of historic or scientific interest.  While only Congress can designate a National Park or wilderness area, Congress gave the President authority (through the Antiquities Act of 1906) to designate National Monuments. President Theodore Roosevelt used this authority to protect the Grand Canyon.  Nearly every President since then has created National Monuments.

Generally, the President´s Proclamation halts new mining claims or oil and gas leases inside the monument.  A Monument Proclamation also may require that publicly owned lands and resources always remain in public ownership.

The Bureau of Land Management administers fifteen national monuments in eight western states. Congress granted the President authority to designate national monuments in the Antiquities Act of 1906, which specifies that the law’s purpose is to protect “objects of historic or scientific interest.” In addition to presidentially-created national monuments, Congress has established national monuments by passing aws to create individual monuments with their own purpose (generally to protect natural or historic features). Since 1906, the President or Congress have created more than 100 national monuments that are currently managed by the National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, or BLM.

National Monuments are a component of the National Conservation Lands.

Rocks and Islands above the water line scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean.

California Coastal National Monument

The California Coastal National Monument is a biological treasure. Its thousands of islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles are part of the nearshore ocean zone, which begins just off shore and ends at the boundary between the continental shelf and continental slope. Presidential Proclamation established the monument in January of 2000. The monument provides feeding and nesting habitat for an estimated 200,000 breeding seabirds as well as  forage and breeding habitat for marine mammals including the southern sea otters and California sea lions. 

Hills in the Carrizo Plain display wildflowers.
Carrizo Plain National Monument

Full of natural splendor and rich in human history, the grasslands and stark ridges of the Carrizo Plain National Monument contain exceptional objects of scientific and historic interest.  Encompassing more than 200,000 acres, the monument is home to the largest concentration of endangered species in all of California, in part because the remote 45-mile-long plain is an ecological "island," the single largest remaining remnant of native grassland in California that was once abundant in the southern San Joaquin Valley. 

 Sun rays coming through clouds above green hills in Fort Ord National Monument.

Fort Ord National Monument

The Fort Ord National Monument holds some of the last undeveloped natural wildlands on the Monterey Peninsula.  Located on the former Fort Ord military base, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) protects and manages 35 species of rare plants and animals along with their native coastal habitats.  Habitat preservation and conservation are primary missions for the Fort Ord Public Lands but there are also more than 86 miles of trails for the public to explore on foot, bike or horseback.

Snow covered mountains are the backdrop for a lovely valley filled with wildflowers.

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument of southern California contain nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational and scientific resources. The vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources of these mountains provide a counterpoint to the highly urbanized areas of the nearby Coachella Valley. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Act established the unit in October 2000.