In his proposed budget released earlier this year,  President Obama proposed increased funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that protects natural, historic, recreational and other landscapes, according to Outdoor Alliance.

The administration is also considering creating 14 national monuments in nine states totaling about 13 millions acres.

The areas under consideration are:

  • Otero Mesa, New Mexico
  • San Rafael Swell, Utah
  • Owyhee Canyonlands, Oregon/Nevada
  • Northern Plains, Montana
  • Northwest Sonoran Desert, Arizona
  • Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, California/Oregon (expansion)
  • Vermillion Basin, Colorado
  • Lesser Prairie Chicken, New Mexico
  • Berrysessa-Snow Mountain, California
  • Heart of the Great Basin, Nevada
  • Bodie Hills, California
  • Modoc Plateau, California
  • Cedar Mesa, Utah
  • San Juan Islands, Washington

A National Monument is essentially the same thing as a National Park, except that a U.S. president has the power to declare a place a monument lickity split, without asking Congress. We’d say that’s a good thing — as long as the sitting president is inclined to create public lands, not parcel them off to private investors.

The park service offers a concise history on American National monuments and lists the monuments created by various presidents. Looks like Bill Clinton holds the record with 21.

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