What do the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Denali, and Petrified Forest all have in common? They’re all national parks that started out as national monuments.
U.S. law gives presidents the power to designate federal lands as protected monuments without having to get approval from Congress. Some hail the practice as a way to preserve vulnerable historic and natural sites, and others criticize it as a land grab by the federal government. (Once a site becomes a monument, activities, such as logging, drilling, and mining are restricted.)
Now, President Donald Trump wants to take a closer look at some of the national monuments his predecessors have created. Twenty-seven monuments established since the mid-1990s are under review and might eventually lose their status.
Although it’s not even clear whether Trump has the authority to get rid of national monuments, if he gets his way these areas might eventually be opened up to development. If you’ve been thinking about visiting one of these 12 national monuments, you might want to start planning your trip now.
1. Grand Canyon-Parashant
The Grand Canyon has been a national park since 1919, but the adjacent Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument has only been around since 2000. The remote, million-acre site on the canyon’s north side is jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. And it sees far fewer visitors than its more famous neighbor, largely because it’s so difficult to reach. Don’t expect paved roads, established trails, visitor centers, or other amenities. But high elevation and minimal light pollution make it an ideal spot for stargazers and rugged types who enjoy true wilderness camping.