List of proposed national monuments of the United States

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The President of the United States can establish a national monument by presidential proclamation, and the United States Congress can by legislation. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorized the president to proclaim "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" as national monuments.[1]

Interior Department memorandum[edit]

In a 2010 "Not for Release" memorandum by the United States Department of the Interior, 14 areas were listed in the "Prospective Conservation Designation" attachment as "good candidates for National Monument designation under the Antiquities Act".[2] Those areas are included in the lists below, shaded bluish-green.

In subsequent attachments in the same draft, "areas worthy of protection that are ineligible for Monument Designation and unlikely to receive legislative protection in the near term" and "cost estimates" of "high priority land-rationalization efforts" were listed.[2]

Proposed national monuments[edit]

Proposed name Photo Location Area [note 1] Status External information
Bodie Hills California
Birthplace of Rivers Falls-of-hills-creek-wv.jpg West Virginia
122,000 acres (49,000 ha)[3] ClockC Petition by Keen
West Virginia Rivers Coalition
Video by Pew & This American Land
Expansion of
Cascade-Siskiyou[note 2]
Soda-Mtn-LG.jpg California
Greater Canyonlands[note 2] Upper Comb Wash
in Greater Canyonlands
1,800,000 acres (730,000 ha)[4] Symbol deferred.svg see also Bears Ears[note 3] Greater Canyonlands Coalition
Utah Public Lands Initiative with ArcGIS map
Greater Grand Canyon Heritage [5] Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim in Arizona.jpg Arizona
1,700,000 acres (690,000 ha) ClockC Pending legislation [6] Greater Grand Canyon Watershed
Grand Canyon Waters, at the Abyss (New York Times)
Heart of the Great Basin Nevada
Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve Lesser Prairie Chicken, New Mexico.jpg New Mexico 58,000 acres (23,000 ha) ☒N as of February 2010
Montana's Northern Prairie Montana 2,500,000 acres (1,000,000 ha)
Northwest Sonoran Desert Sonoran Desert 33.081359 n112.431507.JPG Arizona 500,000 acres (200,000 ha) ☒N as of April 2012
Otero Mesa Otero Mesa.jpg New Mexico 1,200,000 acres (490,000 ha) ☒N as of February 2010
Owyhee Canyonlands[note 2] Owyhee River Wilderness A.jpg Oregon 2,100,000 acres (850,000 ha)[4] Oregon Natural Desert Association
Owyhee Desert Oregon/Nevada
Range of Light
South Fork of the Merced River.jpg
California Approximately 1,427,750 acres Unite the Parks

Range of Light Video featuring Frank Helling as the voice of John Muir

San Rafael Swell I70 at San Rafael swell-Green River.jpg Utah ☒N as of 2013 Utah Public Lands Initiative with ArcGIS map
The Modoc Plateau Pit River Valley.jpg California 3,000,000 acres (1,200,000 ha)[7] Video by Los Angeles Times
Vermillion Basin Colorado

Formerly proposed national monuments[edit]

Some areas have been proposed as a national monument earlier, but are no longer listed above, because they are now designated as national monuments or are protected via a different designation, e.g. as a national park or wilderness area in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Some reasons for keeping them in the following list might be:

  • The proposed area is now included in another, larger area which is protected. (Symbol: Symbol deferred.svg)
  • A smaller part of the originally proposed area is now protected. (Symbol: Checkhalf.png)
  • The area was officially proposed for monument designation by a federal or state agency or department, e.g. in the memorandum mentioned above, and was subsequently protected. Those entries are shaded with a bluish-green background. (Symbol: Green tickY - marks all monuments protected, including some after proposals from non-governmental organizations)
Proposed name Photo Location Area [note 1] Status External information
Bears Ears[note 3] BearsEarsUSGS-2D.jpg Utah
1,350,000 acres (550,000 ha) Green tickY December 28, 2016 Bears Ears Coalition
Berryessa Snow Mountains Snow Mountain Wilderness.jpg California 330,780 acres (133,860 ha) Green tickY July 15, 2015 U.S. Forest Service
Boulder-White Clouds Scoop Lake, Custer County, Idaho.JPG Idaho 570,000 acres (230,000 ha)[4] Checkhalf.png August 7, 2015 [note 4]
The Wilderness Society
Cedar Mesa region My Public Lands Roadtrip- Cedar Mesa in Utah (19883938459).jpg Utah
256,000 acres (104,000 ha) Symbol deferred.svg see Bears Ears [note 3] Utah Public Lands Initiative with ArcGIS map
Gold Butte [8] Gold Butte Lake Mead (19979090905).jpg Nevada
300,000 acres (120,000 ha) Green tickY December 28, 2016 Friends of Gold Butte
Friends of Nevada Wilderness
Video by Pew & This American Land
Maine Woods[4] Mouth of Moose River from Mount Kineo.jpg Maine
3,200,000 acres (1,300,000 ha) Checkhalf.pngAugust 24, 2016[note 5] Pro: RESTORE the North Woods
Natural Resources Council of Maine

Contra: Maine Woods Coalition
Rocky Mountain Front[4] 2009-0603-10-Air-RockyMountainFront.jpg Montana
275,000 acres (111,000 ha) Checkhalf.png December 19, 2014 [9] [note 6] Save the Front
San Juan Islands San Juan Islands 17 (8970073631).jpg Washington
1,000 acres (400 ha) Green tickY March 25, 2013 Bureau of Land Management


  1. ^ a b Area according to the memorandum if included there, otherwise according to the campaign website or the official area if the national monument has been established meanwhile.
  2. ^ a b c Links to the protected area which will be extended
  3. ^ a b c The Bears Ears National Monument includes most of the proposed Cedar Mesa National Monument and the southern part of the proposed Greater Canyonlands National Monument.
  4. ^ A smaller area than the proposed national monument was designated as wilderness in August 2015
  5. ^ The smaller "Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument" was designated as national monument in August 2016.
  6. ^ Instead of a national monument designation the "Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Management Area" was established and 67,112 acres of land were designated as additions to existing components of the "National Wilderness Preservation System" in the Lewis and Clark National Forest.


  1. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 431 § 432, and § 433. U.S. Code collection. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved on 11 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Prospective Conservation Designation: National Monument designation under the Antiquities Act" (PDF). Congressman Rob Bishop's website. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  3. ^ Graham Averill (9 September 2013). "Will Birthplace of Rivers Be West Virginia's First National Monument?". Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Wuerthner, Georg (6 June 2014). "A Tentative List of Potential National Monuments". The Wildlife News. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  5. ^ Clark, Roger (14 October 2015). "3 Things about the New Grand Canyon National Monument". Grand Canyon Trust. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  6. ^ Grijalva, Raul (3 November 2015). "Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act".
  7. ^ Wuerthner, George (19 February 2010). "Wuerthner re: Obama's New National Monuments - Native Forest Council". Native Forest Council. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  8. ^ Burr, Thomas (30 July 2014). "12 most likely places Obama may make a national monument". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Joint press statement from members of the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front on passage of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act". Save the Front. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2016.