Celebrating National Monuments For All of Us

Today marks the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Antiquities Act which gives presidents the ability to designate national monuments. National monument designations preserve historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest. It is the starting point to potential national park status later on. Some of our greatest treasures—places like Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, Olympic, Arches, Acadia, and Death Valley—started out as monuments. Others remain as monuments today: Devil’s Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Giant Sequoia, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Mount St. Helens, to name a few.

Right now, 27 monument designations are under scrutiny by our new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, and things aren’t looking up for them. The list is heart-breaking. In an age of unchecked development, protecting these remarkable places is more important than ever.

The politics surrounding the threat to these monuments can only be thwarted by vigorous and unrelenting support for them from the outdoor-loving public. That’s where you come in. Please join the public comment period that is active through July 10th to help keep the last 20 years of progress in public land preservation from being undone. You can do that by visiting monumentsforall.org, managed by the Center for Western Priorities. They’ll be collecting and recording comments to submit to the regulations.gov site so nothing gets lost in the mix as our monuments face political scrutiny.

In the meantime, I hope you will indulge me in a trip down memory lane.

Looking back

The pressure on our monuments has me reviewing the times I’ve spent in them. I’m not one to keep count so I had to go back and take roll of those I’ve been to. My list includes: Bandelier (NM), Canyon de Chelly (AZ), Craters of the Moon (ID), Devil’s Tower (WY), Dinosaur (UT/CO), Fort Matanzas (FL), Fort Pulaski (GA), Fort Sumter (SC), Giant Sequoia (CA), Gila Cliff Dwellings (NM), Grand Staircase-Escalante (UT), Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks (NM), Petroglyph (NM), Rio Grande del Norte (NM), Statue of Liberty (NJ/NY), Sunset Crater (AZ), Vermillion Cliffs (AZ), White Sands (NM), and Wupatki (AZ).

Some of these I visited so long ago I don’t have images to share. I do know that my life would be less for not having been to them. I also know I have dozens on my travel wish list. And I haven’t yet had a chance to visit Gold Butte or Basin and Range, two newer monuments that celebrate the rugged history and landscape of my Nevada.

In my efforts to curate my time in our national monuments, here are a handful of memories from our adventures…

dinosaur national monument - val in real life
National monuments, like Dinosaur, have played a huge role in my explorations with Fred and George.
bandolier national monument - val in real life
History and nature abound at Bandelier National Monument.
fort pulaski national monument - val in real life
The textures of Fort Pulaski have brought me back to visit repeatedly over the years. The sobering history reminds me why preserving these monuments is so important.
petroglyph national monument - val in real life
Petroglyph National Monument preserves antiquities as the development in Albuquerque closes in around it.
craters of the moon - val in real life
Fred and George were “blown away” by Craters of the Moon.
wupatki national monument - val in real life
The ruins of Wupatki in infrared. National monuments preserve our history and heritage.
fort matanzas national monument - val in real life
Fort Matanzas in Florida was one of the first national monuments Fred and George experienced.
sunset crater national monument - val in real life
The drama of Sunset Crater National Monument never ceases to amaze.
vermillion cliffs - national monuments - val in real life
The expanses of Vermillion Cliffs are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Quite worth preservation, don’t you think?

Why are these important?

While national monuments serve as stepping stones to park status for some units, those that remain monuments offer opportunities for a rich experience, usually without the crowds that national parks tend to attract. They’re typically a sweet spot of preservation without being over-loved. Help us maintain this process. Tell your legislators to keep the monument designations as they stand. Visit Monuments For All to have your voice heard.

What fellow bloggers have to say about National Monuments

Check out these posts from other #MonumentsForAll bloggers:

Adventure on, friends.


  1. National Monuments are truly stunning! Which one would you recommend visiting?

    1. Oh my… any one you can get to! Depends on where you are and your ability to travel to them. Bandelier (NM) and Dinosaur (UT) are great. I’m really fond of Ft. Pulaski (GA). But really, they’re all good. 🙂

  2. This is a great addition to the campaign. It’s always nice to see where other bloggers have been. I enjoyed your photos immensely, thanks for sharing those! 🙂

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