Obama Designates Three New National Monuments

Explore Berryessa Snow Mountain, Waco Mammoth, and Basin and Range, the three newest national monuments.
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Explore Berryessa Snow Mountain, Waco Mammoth, and Basin and Range, the three newest national monuments.

With the stroke of Obama’s pen on July 10, America has three new national monuments: Berryessa Snow Mountain (CA), Waco Mammoth (TX), and Basin and Range (NV).

The new sites protect more than 1 million acres of public land.

 The three new national monuments are located in California, Nevada, and Texas.

The three new national monuments are located in California, Nevada, and Texas.

The New Parks

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

Photo: Kevin Cortopassi/Flickr

California's Lake Berryessa is part of three new national monuments. Photo: Kevin Cortopassi/Flickr

Located less then 100 miles from California’s Bay Area, Berryessa Snow Mountain’s 330,780 acres provide plenty of hiking and backpacking opportunities. Summit Berryessa Peak with a 14.5-mile round-trip hike from mile marker 20 on Knoxville Road. Other things to do: Explore the intimate coves and side arms of Lake Berryessa via kayak, or hit the trail for one of countless other hikes of varying lengths. Contactberryessasnowmountain.org

Waco Mammoth National Monument

Photo: John Schulze/Flickr

Waco Mammonth National Monument protects spectacular mammoth fossils. Photo: John Schulze/Flickr

This 4.93-acre monument is a special paleontological site, representing the nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths. Visitors can view fossils, but unfortunately there are no hiking opportunities… yet. A ranger confirmed that there are hopes to expand to create trails. Contact nps.gov/waco

Basin and Range National Monument

Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

The new Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada protects 700,000 mostly trailless acres. Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

Basin and Range is remote and big, clocking in at just over 700,000 acres of desert mountains and valleys. Many areas in this region don’t have designated trails, so it’s time for you to be the trailblazer. Check out Leviathan Cave in the Worthington Mountain Wilderness for a chance to descend into the gaping sinkhole that gives way to a limestone cave (rock climbing experience and a belay device recommended.)