the monumental


Walnut Canyon National Monument

A few miles East of Flagstaff, Arizona you can visit another national monument featuring more of the ancient native cliff dwellings that are so common among the Southwest. An easy descent down steps leads you to a 1 mile loop trail around the cliff dwellings with great views of the surrounding canyon. Another 1 mile walk take you out to a few viewpoints which offer another perspective on the monument. This was an easy experience that is worth the day trip if you are spending some time in Flagstaff.

Part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument supports a reef ecosystem with more than 7,000 marine species and is home to many species of coral, fish, birds and marine mammals. This includes the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. A Hawaiian monk seal naps on the beach with a rainbow on the horizon. Photo by Mark Sullivan, NOAA/HMSRP, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.


On a quiet morning 75 years ago today, Imperial Japanese forces attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,100 more wounded. Twenty-one ships of the Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged, including the USS Arizona. Shocked and angered by the attack, the country joined the Allied forces to fight World War II, inspired by the call of “Remember Pearl Harbor.” A moving reminder of the service and sacrifice of those who fought, the USS Arizona Memorial is jointly administered by the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service. Photos from World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument by National Park Service.


President Obama designates 3 new national monuments — all civil rights sites

  • Closing in on his final week in office, President Obama on Thursday designated three spots as national monuments — all of them related to U.S. civil rights. 
  • The sites include a church in Alabama where four young black girls were killed by a bomb, a Freedom Riders monument in Alabama and a former school for freed slaves in South Carolina.
  • “Today, I am designating new national monuments that preserve critical chapters of our country’s history, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement,” Obama said in a White House statement. 
  • “These monuments preserve the vibrant history of the Reconstruction Era and its role in redefining freedom.” Read more

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Snow clings to the jagged sides of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. This astounding geologic feature is considered sacred to the Northern Plains Indians and other tribes, who called it “Bear’s Tipi” or “Bear’s Lodge.” Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to explore and define our place in the natural and cultural world. Photo by National Park Service.