President Obama is scheduled to create 5 new national monuments today. The signing ceremony is not open to the press, but not because this isn't important. In fact, these new national monuments matter a lot right now because the current crop of legislators in congress aren't setting any new land aside for national parks for the first time in six decades. That's probably why the president is using his executive power to create to protect these areas.
The monuments created by Obama are: the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington State. In total, these should add up to many thousands of acres of protected land.
NPR has a good overview here.
Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, released this statement of support:
“The Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supporters applaud President Obama’s designation of five new national monuments across the country. These new national monuments will protect a diverse set of culturally and historically significant sites for all Americans to explore and enjoy. They’ll also generate significant economic opportunities for surrounding local communities.
“From the vast, spectacular cliffs of the Rio Grande Del Norte to the smaller, but hugely significant Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, these new monuments honor the contributions of African American, Native American and Hispanic leaders, and showcase our nation’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.
“We thank President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for protecting these remarkable landscapes and establishing new national treasures for Americans to explore and enjoy for generations to come.”