Presenting: your favorite national monuments!

Visitors at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

Credit: Bob Wick (BLM California), flickr.

In honor of the Antiquities Act’s 108th anniversary, we recently asked you about your favorite national monuments. These are some of your responses!

Passed in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been under attack by some members of Congress recently, but it remains a vitally important conservation tool. The bill authorized all future presidents to protect historic landmarks or objects of “scientific interest” on public lands as national monuments. Though it grew out of a movement to preserve deteriorating archaeological resources, some of which had become targets of vandalism, it has since been used to protect many outstanding natural treasures. Without the Antiquities Act, the places on this list may not have been so well preserved for posterity for future generations.

On June 8, 108 years after the act’s passage, we asked on Twitter what your favorite monuments are. These were some of your responses:

Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park gather to watch the sunset. Credit: Michael Quinn (NPS), flickr.

Protected by: President Theodore Roosevelt (1908)

Arguably the single most famous piece of land in the United States, the Grand Canyon is fittingly also one of the first ever protected under the Antiquities Act. Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon as a monument in 1908, years before it was turned into a national park. As he later wrote, "the Grand Canyon of Arizona fills me with awe [.] It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world." Millions of visitors come to Arizona each year to experience the simple truth of those words.

Submitted by: @FireManagement, @alg_alison

Muir Woods National Monument (California)

Visitors in Muir Woods. Credit: Carlos Mejía Greene, flickr.

Protected by: President Theodore Roosevelt (1908)

One of the first places protected under the Antiquities Act--and by the man who signed the act into law, to boot--Muir Woods National Monument is named for the famous Scottish lover of the American outdoors, John Muir. Natural attractions in this wooded paradise just miles from San Francisco include majestic redwoods--the monument’s signature feature--great horned owls and numerous bat species. In 1945, Muir Woods hosted a memorial service for President Franklin Roosevelt that was attended by delegates representing 46 different nations.

Submitted by: @matthewisles

Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico)

A rainbow appears over an excavated village. Credit: Sally King (NPS), flickr.

Protected by: President Woodrow Wilson (1916)

Bandelier National Monument is probably best known for petroglyphs, cliff dwellings and other archaeological remnants of indigenous and Ancestral Pueblo culture. However, it contains some pretty good nature, too: 10,199-foot Cerro Grande, savannah and woodland landscapes and habitat for mule deer, bats and numerous bird species. Among highlights is the scenic Bandelier Wilderness.

Submitted by: @FireManagement

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah)

Sightseeing at Grand Staircase-Escalante. Credit: Bob Wick (BLM California), flickr.

Protected by: President Bill Clinton (1996)

Considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument covers nearly 2 million miles of desert and dramatic rock formations, including potential protected wilderness.  Recreation in the area includes rock-climbing, camping, hiking and mountain biking. This gem of the American west was unfortunately thrust into headlines in 2014 when hikers discovered a four-mile-wide oil spill smearing the landscape.

Submitted by: @YourPublicLands

California Coastal National Monument (California)

Black oystercatchers at the Trinidad gateway of the California Coastal National Monument. Credit: Bureau of Land Management.

Protected by: President Bill Clinton (2000)

President Bill Clinton was the first to protect California Coastal National Monument under the Antiquities Act. President Barack Obama built on that effort in 2014, adding the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to the protected area--the first land-based expansion of the monument. In all, the monument comprises islands, reefs and rocks across 1,100 miles of the California coast, drawing millions of visitors each year.

Submitted by: @OurUnbeatenPath, @BLMca, @bruisermom

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (Arizona)

Backpacking in Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Credit: Wilderness.net.

Protected by: President Bill Clinton (2000)

The nearly 300,000-acre Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is among the highlights of the Colorado Plateau, a geological formation that reaches into Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Backpacking, camping and wildlife-watching are popular pastimes, and a large chunk of the monument is protected as the 30-year-old Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, home to some of the most unearthly vistas in the American southwest.

Submitted by: @thealg64

Giant Sequoia National Monument (California)

Giant sequoias tower over the forest floor at the monument. Credit: Melissa Wiese, flickr.

Protected by: President Bill Clinton (2000)

At a little over 328,000 acres within the Sequoia National Forest, Giant Sequoia National Monument is a treasured piece of the southern Sierra Nevada. The monument contains 33 groves reserved for the eponymous tree, one of the largest organisms on earth (giant sequoias can reach 300 feet in height and 35 feet across), as well as limestone caverns, granite rock formations and bountiful wildlife habitat. Popular recreational activities in the greater national forest include fishing, hiking and camping.

Submitted by: @Obsidian_Lily

Fort Pulaski National Monument (Georgia)

A “rifled cannon” remains at Fort Pulaski. Credit: National Park Service.

Protected by: President Calvin Coolidge (1924)

Originally built as a measure to prevent foreign invasion, Fort Pulaski gained lasting notoriety as the site of a ferocious battle between Union and entrenched Confederate forces during the Civil War. Perhaps the most famous moment of the battle--and of Fort Pulaski’s history--came when a Union general decided to use an experimental long-range “rifled cannon” against the fort, making masonry forts obsolete. The monument area is mostly made up of tidal marshes and mud flats, and contains habitat for deer, pelicans, herons and eagles.

Submitted by: @georgiadog

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (Arizona)

Sunrise near Sunset Crater Volcano. Credit: National Park Service.

Protected by: President Herbert Hoover (1930)

The national monument surrounding this 900-year-old volcano is primarily known for its geological curiosities, but it also contains islands of pine and aspen and even wildflowers, still in the long process of “succession” that occurs after an eruption. As is the case with other craters and stark western landscapes, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument was used by 1960s astronauts for moon landing dry runs.

Submitted by: @anonwildfire

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