NPS Employees Think These 6 Sites Should Be Future National Monuments

Jun 8, 2022 | Conservation, News

NPS Employees Think These 6 Sites Should Be Future National Monuments

National monument designations would give these sites protection as well as economic and recreational benefits.

By Ashley Rossi

In April, the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks—a group of more than 2,000 current, former, and retired employees and volunteers of the National Park Service (NPS)—addressed a letter to President Biden encouraging his proclamation of new national monuments through the Antiquities Act of 1906. 

National monument designations would give these significant sites protection as well as economic and recreational benefits. There is also a precedent for national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act to become national parks—both Grand Canyon and Acadia received designations this way.

Related Where to RV Camp at 10 U.S. National Monuments

The NPS currently manages 85 national monument sites. Here are the coalition’s recommendations for six new ones: 

Desert mountains at sunrise
Area known as Castner Range in El Paso, Texas.

Castner Range National Monument, Texas

This proposed monument would protect the Castner Range in the Franklin Mountains and open up the federally-owned land for public use. Located in the El Paso, Texas, area, the designation would protect about 7,000 acres from development and preserve parts of the region’s heritage, according to the El Paso Times. If designated, new trails and camping areas could be developed. 

Local business owners also hope to see economic impacts, similar to the boosted spending impact that Greater Las Cruces, New Mexico, saw with the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014.  

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The sunset glow warms Newberry Mountains Wilderness
Spirit Mountain, a Traditional Cultural Property sacred to local tribes.

Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, Nevada

The land for this proposed national monument sits on the California-Nevada border in the Mojave Desert. Considered sacred by 12 tribes—including Yuman-speaking, Hopi, and Chemehuevi Paiute—“Avi Kwa Ame” is the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain. The establishment of this land as a national monument is critical in protecting Native American ancestral lands, according to the coalition

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Yosemite National Park sign on winding road in mountains
Photo: Toms Auzins /

Range of Light National Monument, California

A grassroots campaign, Unite the Parks, is fighting for NPS control and national monument designation of the 1.3 million-acre Sierra National Forest between Yosemite and Kings Canyon national parks. According to Unite the Parks, a designation could protect the land by stopping commercial use, restoring the habitat, and also revitalizing recreation opportunities.

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River flowing in old growth forest
Walking trail at Whispering Falls Campground. | Photo: Travel Small Live Big

Douglas-Fir National Monument, Oregon

This national monument proposal would transfer parts of the Willamette National Forest and adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land into a designated monument for the protection of resources and the significant old-growth forest. The proposal covers 750 square miles and includes trails, scenic drives, and camping opportunities, as outlined by Friends of the Douglas Fir National Monument

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Group of people at national historic site proposed area
NPS Director Sams and stakeholders learn about the 1908 Springfield Race Riot and the ongoing preservation of the site. | Photo: NPS/Jimenez

1908 Springfield Race Riot National Monument, Illinois

Part of the African American Civil Rights Network, the 1908 Springfield Race Riot Site is of incredible importance to the U.S., honoring those who fought against discrimination and segregation, as well as the event that led to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). A national monument designation would formally honor this legacy, writes the Illinois Senate Delegation

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Cahokia mound
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois

The Cahokia Mounds are recognized as a National Historic Landmark, an Illinois State Historic Site, and a World Heritage Site by the United Nations (UNESCO), which currently gives some limited protections. However, Illinois senators are asking for national monument designation to further protect this archeological and culturally important site from new roads and development that are threatening some of the mounds. 

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If you want to support the designation of these national monuments, visit the below links.