President Obama Designates 5 New National Monuments

PHOTO: This 2000 photo shows the Lighthouse at southern end, Cattle Point, on San Juan Island monument off Washington state's northwest coast. President Barack Obama is designating five new national monuments, including San Juan Island, using executive au
Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times/AP Photo

President Obama designated five new national monuments last week, one each in Delaware, Maryland., New Mexico, Ohio and Washington. The monuments, the White House said, "help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans."

"These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country," said President Obama. "By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come."

Click through the next five pages to find out which sites have been added.

PHOTO: Colonel Charles Young House, front and western side, in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio

According to The White House, the monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of colonel. Young also served as one of the early Army superintendents of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, before the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. The national headquarters of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, of which Col. Young was a member, made the property available for acquisition by the federal government to establish the national monument commemorating Young's life and accomplishments.

PHOTO: The New Castle Court House Museum, in New Castle, Delaware. It is part of the First State National Monument.
First State National Monument, Del.

The monument will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as Delaware's role as the first state to ratify the Constitution, the White House said. The park is comprised of three historic areas: the Dover Green, the New Castle Court House complex (including the courthouse, Green and Sheriff's House), and the Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley.

PHOTO: The marsh at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Feb. 21, 2012 in Cambridge, MD. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument was added by President Obama.
The Washington Post/Getty Images
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, Md.

The monument commemorates the life of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom, the White House said. The new national park, located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman's early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad. The park includes Stewart's Canal, dug by hand by free and enslaved people between 1810 and the 1830s and where Tubman learned important outdoor skills when she worked in the nearby timbering operations with her father.

Lands that are part of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, although part of the new national monument, will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the White House said. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others. The monument will also partner with the State of Maryland's Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center when it opens in 2015.

PHOTO: The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge within the proposed El Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area near Taos, N.M.
Río Grande del Norte National Monument, N.M.

Located northwest of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau. The area is known for its spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities – like rafting, fishing and hiking – and serves as important habitat for many birds and wildlife, the White House said. The monument is also home to a dense collection of petroglyphs and extraordinary archaeological and cultural resources dating from the Archaic Period to the more recent passage of Hispanic settlers.

PHOTO: This 2000 photo shows the Lighthouse at southern end, Cattle Point, on San Juan Island monument off Washington state's northwest coast. President Barack Obama is designating five new national monuments, including San Juan Island, using executive au
San Juan Islands National Monument, Wash.

Home to bald eagles, orca whales, harbor seals and other rare species, the San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles. Located in Washington State's Puget Sound, the archipelago provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape. A number of historic lighthouses are located on the islands, as well as cultural resources and fossils dating back 12,000 years.

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