In addition to coaxing Bo into his daily dump on the White House lawn, Obama has been busy declaring national monuments this week. Awesomely, and thanks the Antiquities Act, a President can protect public land through these designations—effectively bypassing Congressional holdups in the process. Theodore Roosevelt did it first when he protected Wyoming’s Devils tower back in 1906. Since then 16 presidents have established national monuments.
Of Obama’s Big 5, the Rio Grande del Norte designation packs the most significance to flyfishers, locking down and protecting more than 60 miles of critical trout habitat. Once a site becomes a national monument, Congress has the authority to designate it a national park.
Fun fact: Approximately half of today’s national parks began as national monuments.
Via National Geographic: “The nation’s list of national monuments—places of “historic or scientific” interest—has grown by five. On Monday, President Obama added five sites to the 103 previously enshrined.
“The newcomers range from an ancient canyon in New Mexico to a 480-acre (194-hectare) property in Maryland where the courageous abolitionist Harriet Tubman helped to free runaway slaves.”