The Best of the Best

National Monuments Are Some of the Greatest Parks in the Country

President Donald Trump and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have launched an unprecedented attack on America’s national parks, public lands, and oceans. In their crosshairs are 27 monuments—5 ocean and 22 land-based—that may face elimination or significant changes that undermine their protections. These national monuments help define us as a nation by protecting areas with cultural or historical significance, and they also serve as parks that provide recreation, wildlife habitat, climate change resilience, and a retreat from busy cities. A new analysis by the Center for American Progress and Conservation Science Partners of the 22 land-based national monuments at risk finds that—scientifically and ecologically speaking—these places are some of the best parks in the country.

By comparing the national monuments with a random sample of “peers,” the study found that, across the board, the monuments are exceptional. The study scored 12 ecological indicators for each monument by comparing the value of each indicator with a random sample of 1,000 areas equivalent to the size of the monument, across 11 Western states or 37 Eastern states, depending on the location of the monument. Potential scores range from 0 to 100, with 100 indicating places where the ecological indicator is the strongest. Scores of 50 or higher suggest a better-than-average score on a given characteristic. Altering any of these spectacular landscapes could have far-reaching ecological consequences.

Use the tool below to explore each of these monuments and their exceptional features for yourself, then let the administration know that you oppose any efforts to alter or eliminate them.

For a full-size version of the interactive, click here.

Jenny Rowland is the research and advocacy manager for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. Mary Ellen Kustin is the director of policy for Public Lands at the Center. Mathew Brady was the data visualization consultant and developer for this interactive.

The authors would like to thank Kate Kelly, Meghan Miller, Jason Fernandes, Emily Haynes, and Cynthia Youngblood for their contributions to this product.