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July 10, 2015

President Obama creates three new national monuments

New national monuments will protect more than 1 million acres of public land in three states.

President Obama issued an executive order Friday creating three new national monuments that will protect more than 1 million acres of public land in three states.

• Northern California's Berryessa Snow Mountain, a woodlands about 100 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area, is a thriving home to a variety of wildlife and is a recreational hotspot for activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping.

• Waco Mammoth, a 107-acre stretch about halfway between Dallas and Austin, Texas, contains the remains of 24 Columbian Mammoths whose bones are more than 65,000 years old. Other animal remains from that epoch, including the Saber-toothed Cat and Dwarf Antelope, have also been excavated from the site, which will be used for paleontological inquiry.

• Nevada's Basin and Range encompasses about 700,000 acres of mountains and valleys that include petroglyph and prehistoric rock art panels dating back 4,000 years. The monument also enables the continued historic use of the area for military activity and livestock grazing.

The order for the new monuments was issued under the federal Antiquities Act, which President Obama has used to establish or expand 19 national monuments, according to a White House Fact Sheet

“One of the great legacies of this incredible country … is our national parks and national monuments,” Obama said Friday afternoon in the Oval Office before signing off on the declarations. “It is something that we pass on from generation to generation."

The Antiquities Act was first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 with the designation of Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Sixteen presidents have used it since then to protect unique natural features in the United States, including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Colorado's Canyons of the Ancients.