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 New Parks
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
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
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
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.)