“Monumental” Wildlife Habitat Across America

National parks are famous for the opportunities they provide to watch incredible wildlife, but did you know that many national monuments are home to spectacular wildlife, too?

National public lands, including national monuments, are jointly owned by all Americans. Using the authority of the Antiquities Act, presidents from both parties have designated national monuments on our public lands in order to protect priceless natural, historic, scientific, and cultural resources. Monument designations are an added layer of protection to existing public lands, and are a vitally important conservation tool. There are times when Congress can’t, or won’t, act to protect a vulnerable area, and local community groups often are able to successfully push for monument designation to achieve protections for irreplaceable wildlife habitat, historic sites, and culturally significant areas.

Let’s get to know some of our national monuments and the wildlife that call these incredible places home!

Brown Bears on Admiralty Island National Monument. Photo by Don MacDougall, USFS

Brown Bears on Admiralty Island National Monument. Photo by Don MacDougall, US Forest Service.

Admiralty Island National Monument

This national monument in Alaska might not be the easiest to get to, but the rewards for the intrepid traveler willing to make the trek to this area in southeast Alaska are great. This rugged area, full of old-growth rainforest and alpine tundra is home to the highest concentration of brown bears in the world, as well as the greatest concentration of nesting bald eagles. Visitors can also spot humpback whales feeding, harbor seals and porpoises cavorting offshore, and Sitka black-tailed deer bounding through the forest.

Desert Bighorn Sheep enjoy the sun. Photo by Marc Neidig, National Park Service.

Desert Bighorn Sheep enjoy the sun. Photo by Marc Neidig, National Park Service.

Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument

Whether you’re a geology buff, a wildlife lover, a bird watcher, or a history aficionado, Utah’s Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument has something to offer. President Bill Clinton designated this national monument in 1996. The 1.9 million acres in this protected area are home to many species of wildlife well-adapted to the challenging terrain and climate of this region. Native wildlife include the desert bighorn sheep, the endangered desert tortoise, peregrine falcons, and the endangered California condor.

Moose are a highlight of the recently designated Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Photo by Matt Dirksen, NWF.

Moose are a highlight of the recently designated Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. Photo by Matt Dirksen, NWF.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

One of our newest national monuments, Katahdin Woods and Waters protects a stunning swath of mountains, forests, and rivers in northern Maine. If moose, snowshoe hare, Canada lynx, and black bear are on your wildlife check-list then head up to this national monument to go hiking, canoeing, backpacking, or simply exploring as you enjoy these wild northern woods and waters.

A herd of elk in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Photo by Bureau of Land Management.

A herd of elk in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Photo by Bureau of Land Management.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

This rugged, volcanic landscape just north of Taos, New Mexico is home to exceptional whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife-watching. The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument protects a migration corridor and wintering habitat for elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, golden eagles, and sandhill cranes. Explore the dramatic landscapes of this national monument, ranging from deep gorges to the stunning Rio Grande and wildflower-filled plains, all nested under the watchful presence of the Ute Mountain.

Laysan albatross chick and mom. Photo by Dan Clark, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Laysan albatross chick and mom. Photo by Dan Clark, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

First designated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and later expanded in 2016 by President Barack Obama, this extraordinary protected land and seascape is the world’s second largest protected area. Composed of extensive deep water habitats, seamounts, coral reefs, and lagoons, this national monument protects roughly 7,000 species, a quarter of which are endemic – meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. Visitors to this incredible area can witness the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered hawksbill sea turtle, the threatened green sea turtle, and numerous species of birds like the Laysan albatross.

Never Miss A Story!

© 1996-2017 National Wildlife Federation   |   PO Box 1583, Merrifield VA 22116-1583   |   1-800-822-9919 (M-F 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST)

National Wildlife Federation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

Protect Wildlife