Last week, President Barrack Obama designated three new national monuments covering over a million acres in California, Texas and Nevada. The move aims to preserve public sites that have ecological, historical or cultural significance.
"One of the great legacies of this incredible country of ours is our national parks and national monuments," Obama said. "It is something that we pass on from generation to generation, preserving the incredible beauty of this nation, but also reminding us of the richness of its history."
Although you may not have heard of these three monuments before, they each offer something unique and important that all Americans can appreciate. With the summer season in full swing, it's a great time to make a trip out to one of these historical sites. Read on to learn more about these amazing new monuments.
1. Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas
This amazing site in Texas holds the remains of Columbian mammoths that roamed the earth over 65,000 years ago. Saber-toothed cats and even a giant tortoise have also been uncovered at the site. If you're a history buff who loves getting up close and personal with creatures from the past, Waco Mammoth National Monument is a must-see.
2. Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada
Less than two hours outside Las Vegas, this site spans 704,000 acres and features incredible prehistoric art that has amazingly withstood the test of time. You can also see the abstract sculpture called "City" that artist Michael Heizer has been creating since the 1970s. It's one of the most recognized pieces spawning from the American land art movement and is worth checking out even if you aren't a major art lover.
3. Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, California
This scenic span of land is a hidden California treasure holding many Native American cultural sites. It's a great place to camp, hike or boat because of its vast array of breathtaking landscapes and twisting waterways. It's also known as a "biodiversity hot spot," and visitors may find bald eagles, mountain lions and black bears (hopefully from a safe distance).