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4 Million Acres of ‘Landscape Monuments’ to Be Preserved

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From Associated Press

Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt on Thursday unveiled a new program aimed at preserving up to 4 million acres of open space across the West, part of the Clinton administration’s plan to protect more federal land before leaving office.

The new system will be called the National Landscape Monuments. Babbitt said the new monuments won’t be set up for large numbers of visitors. In fact, they will have no visitor centers at all.

“It’s about a landscape,” Babbitt said. “The people in Chicago and their children are going live in a big city but know that there is open space forever that belongs to them whether they come and visit or not.”

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Reflecting that goal, the land will not be run by the National Park Service but by the Bureau of Land Management.

The land being considered for landscape monument status is already owned by the federal government, though some holdings might be purchased as well.

Some of the sites under consideration are:

* In California, the Santa Rosa Mountains near Palm Springs and Carrizo Plain in the San Joaquin Valley near Santa Barbara.

* In Oregon, Steens Mountain and Soda Mountain.

* In Colorado, Canyon of the Ancients, an expansion of the Colorado National Monument and enlargement of the Sand Dunes National Monument.

* In Arizona, the Empire Ranch near Tucson.


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