President Clinton established 17 new National Monuments during 2000 and January 2001, and expanded the boundaries of several more. Ten of the new monuments are in the Southwest and are described below.
Agua Fria National Monument:
The Agua Fria River flows south from the mountains near Prescott into the Sonoran Desert, and after being impounded by Lake Pleasant continues through west Phoenix to the Gila River. The new monument, formerly BLM land, encloses a small region of the high desert alongside the river between Cordes Junction and Black Canyon City, from I-17 east to the Tonto National Forest. The main purpose is to protect numerous ancient ruins and petroglyphs from the pueblo period of 1250 to 1450 AD, although this area also contains historical sites dating from the resettlement of the region in the nineteenth century and has diverse, flourishing plant and animal habitats. Full Description
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument:
This covers over one million acres of the far northwest of Arizona - a vast land of cliffs, canyons, forested mesas and sandy plains, with no paved roads and very little settlement. Some adjoins the Grand Canyon National Park but most is separated from here by sections of Lake Mead NRA. The border with Nevada forms the western boundary of the monument, which extends for 60 miles east to just beyond the access road to the Tuweep
region of the Grand Canyon. Landmarks include most of the Grand Wash Cliffs and the Shivwits Plateau, part of the Paiute Wilderness, the upper ends of Parashant, Andrus and Whitmore Canyons, and the wilderness areas of Mount Trumbull and Mount Logan.
Ironwood Forest National Monument:
One of three new areas of the Sonoran Desert to be given national monument status, the forest is found on the Silverbell Mountains 30 miles northwest of Tucson; the ironwood trees are an important part of the desert ecosystem here which also
includes abundant saguaro cacti and a large population of bighorn sheep. The protected area - little visited and undeveloped apart from several mining operations - stretches from the Roskruge Mountains 35 miles northwest to the Sawtooth Mountains, and is bordered on the west by the large Tonto O'Odham
Sonoran Desert National Monument:
The majority of the Sonoran Desert in the southwest corner of Arizona is already used or protected in some way - either by National Parks, Indian Reservations, military bases or wildlife refuges; the latest addition is quite a large area either side of I-8 west of Casa Grande. The monument extends from the Little Rainbow Valley in the north, across the Maricopa Mountains to the Table Top Mountain wilderness area and even into part of the Barry M Goldwater Air Force Range - the Sand Tank Mountains. The monument has particularly varied plant and wild life, dominated by the giant saguaro cacti.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument:
The most immediately spectacular and accessible of the new NPS units in Arizona, the Vermilion Cliffs NM is centred on the historically significant Paria Plateau in the far north of the state and extends from the Glen Canyon NRA to the Kaibab National Forest, and from the Utah border to ALT US 89. Points of interest include the lower section of the Paria River Canyon, the scenic, highly eroded Coyote Buttes region, and the Vermilion Cliffs themselves - a high, brightly colored sandstone escarpment that stretches for over 30 miles. Full Description
California Coastal National Monument:
An unusual concept for a national monument, this comprises the entire California coastline between Mexico and Oregon, beginning at the waters edge and extending seawards for 12 miles - approximately to the end of the continental shelf. Most is the Pacific Ocean, but there are countless reefs, islands, sandbanks and rocks that harbour birds and other wildlife such as sea otters, seals and sea lions.
Carrizo Plain National Monument:
The Carrizo Plain is a southerly extension of the San Juan Valley, about 20 miles southwest of Bakersfield, and it represents the largest undeveloped section in the San Joaquin region of south California. The boundaries enclose part of the San Andreas fault zone, and extend from Soda Lake in the northwest to the top of Cuyama Valley in the southeast; besides the plain, the area includes the Caliente Mountains and part of the Temblor Range - varied terrain with many different habitats which supports a great diversity of wildlife species, some endangered, and this is the main reason for the establishment of the new monument.
Giant Sequoia National Monument:
Either side of the
Sequoia National Park
, most of the Sierra Nevada range is national forest land; two unconnected sections northwest and south of the park totalling 328,000 acres that also contain extensive groves of the sequoia trees have now been incorporated into a new national monument. This is essentially a change in designation only, as there are no great changes in land use policies; the main development is a phased end to commercial timber operations. The protected area ranges in elevation from 2,500 to 9,700 feet, and besides the large trees contains lakes, rivers, exposed rocky summits and grassy meadows. Full Description
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument:
There are many wooded, steep sided canyons containing numerous ancient Anasazi ruins in the plateau land near Mesa Verde National Park
, and a large area of them have been incorporated into a new national monument, which occupies generally inaccessible BLM land in the southwest corner of the state, west of US 666 and adjoining the border with Utah. The area extends from Squaw Canyon in the north, across various tributaries of Yellow Jacket Canyon and the northern branches of McElmo Canyon, north of Montezuma County Road G. A small separate area is south of this road, around Rincon Canyon. Several sections of Hovenweep National Monument have been incorporated into the new region, as has the former Anasazi Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) and Lowry Pueblo, a National Historical Landmark.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument:
The tent rocks are large, eroded, tent-shaped volcanic pillars found in Peralta Canyon, 25 miles west of Santa Fe at the southern edge of the Jemez Mountains
and close to the Cochiti Indian Reservation. The monument is reached via NM 22 and unpaved FR 266; it was formerly a BLM recreation area and now has quite a few visitor facilities. The formations are just 2 miles in extent, and may be explored along two short trails. Full Description