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Thursday
Feb192015

A Monumental Trifecta

Above: At Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago, the President speaks at the designation of three new national monuments on February 19, 2015.

In a monumental trifecta, President Obama protected three environmentally, economically, and historically significant places as national monuments: Browns Canyon in Colorado, Honouliuli in Hawaii, and the historic Pullman district in Chicago, Illinois. 

An important victory for the conservation community, the Presidential Proclamation of Browns Canyon, Colorado's 8th national monument, proclaimes that it has been protected for its "wealth of scientifically significant geological, ecological, riparian, cultural, and historic resources, and is an important area for studies of paleoecology, mineralogy, archaeology, and climate change." 

The proclamation also notes: "The protection of the Browns Canyon area will preserve its prehistoric and historic legacy and maintain its diverse array of scientific resources, ensuring that the prehistoric, historic, and scientific values remain for the benefit of all Americans. The area also provides world class river rafting and outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding."

According to a blog post by The Wilderness Society, "Browns Canyon is an outdoor recreation mecca and one of Colorado’s most treasured landscapes. The area is well known for its whitewater rafting, fishing and hiking. This spectacular outdoor playground generates more than $55 million per year in economic activity for the local economy... It's no wonder why 77 percent of Coloradans support protecting Browns Canyon as a national monument.

The President also designated Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii and Pullman National Monument in Chicago. According to a statement by The Wilderness Society:

"The Honouliuli camp on the island of O'ahu was the last, largest and longest operating internment camp during World War II. By acknowledging past injustices, this site honors the experiences of those interned and allows us to enlighten future generations.

The historic Pullman district in Chicago honors a unique, shared legacy that is integrally connected to the push for fair labor conditions and civil rights. The community represents the first model industrial town in America."