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Forest Service-Managed National Monuments

Chimney Rock National Monument joins seven others managed by the Forest Service

Chimney Rock fact sheet

Read the Chimney Rock National Monument Proclamation

Read words of support for Chimney Rock National Monument

Admiralty Island National Monument, Tongass National Forest, Alaska

Description: Aerial photo of Windfall Harbor

What will I see: The old growth rainforest, alpine tundra, and rugged coastline of Admiralty Island National Monument and the Kootznoowoo Wilderness offers unrivaled opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation in Southeast Alaska. The native Tlingít people call this island “Kootznoowoo,” meaning “Fortress of the Bear.” Indeed, Admiralty Island is home to the highest concentration of brown bears in the world – more than all the Lower 48 states combined.

While famous for its bears, Admiralty Island offers much more to visitors and residents alike. Spectacular runs of wild salmon fill the island’s creeks each summer, while remote mountain lakes offer the ultimate in wilderness fishing.

Admiralty Island also has a rich cultural heritage, evident in the traditional native village of Angoon, the island’s only permanent settlement.

The Admiralty Island Canoe Route and the Oliver Inlet Tram provide access to this pristine wilderness, and 14 public use cabins are available for rent throughout the island.

Established: Dec. 1, 1978
How many acres: 1.1 million
Unique characteristics: This island monument rises from shore to an elevation of 4,650 feet. Shorelines change rapidly as tides run as much as 25 feet in height along the more than 800 miles of shoreline. There are as many as 5,000 bald eagles and 1,600 brown bears that make the island their home.  

For more information on Admiralty Island National Monument

Misty Fiords National Monument, Tongass National Forest, Alaska

Description: Rudyard Bay

What will I see: Misty Fiord’s granite walls were exposed when the glaciers melted 13,000 years ago. Slowly, vegetation began to colonize rock surfaces. Today, towering cedar, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce trees thrive on the 12 feet of annual rainfall. The woven roots of these trees extend into a thin layer of topsoil, allowing the forest to withstand strong seasonal storms. A layer of moss covers these roots and carpets the forest floor. This patchwork of lush green is punctuated by the woody stems of blueberry and salmonberry bushes. During July and August these shrubs will be heavy with berries.

During the summer season, flightseeing tours, cruise ships, and smaller boats bring visitors to Misty Fiords. Those interested in a closer look paddle sea kayaks through the steep-walled corridors, stopping to explore the numerous coves and camping along the beaches. There are also 17.6 miles of rugged trails that lead to alpine lakes in Misty Fiords. Visitors will find one of the 12 Forest Service public use cabins on these lakes and along the saltwater shores.

Misty Fiords is a wild and remote area. It is important to be prepared for all possible conditions. Visitors should practice low-impact travel and camping skills. Take only memories – leave only footprints.

Established: Dec. 1, 1978
How many acres: 2.3 million acres
Unique characteristics:The monument contains some of the largest temperate rainforest ecosystems in the world. President Jimmy Carter declared Misty Fiords a National Monument in 1978, recognizing it as an unspoiled ecosystem containing significant scientific and historical characteristics.

For more information on Misty Fiords National Monument

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington

The view over Coldwater Lake Boardwalk from the repurposed Mount St. Science and Learning Center at Coldwater

What will I see:  At 8:32 a.m. May 18, 1980, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake triggered the collapse of the summit and the bulging north flank of what was then a nearly perfectly conical mountain. In less than three minutes, the blast leveled 240 square miles north of the peak, changing the landscape in innumerable ways for generations to come. Thousands of trees were incinerated or splintered. The huge plume of ash that filled the sky eventually encircled the globe. Effects of the eruption were felt throughout the region, from day turning to night over Washington State to mudslides engulfing rivers. Following the eruption, the land was left to recover on its own, providing a unique outdoor research laboratory.

The monument now showcases a remarkable transformation. Flowers and young trees create a mosaic on the landscape, rivers and creeks flow freely, and animal life has made an outstanding return. There are lush new-growth alder forests in once barren landscapes. Matchstick-like fallen old growth trees remain in stark contrast with spectacular views and the lively sounds of a wide variety of forest dwelling creatures. On the Pumice Plain alone, one of the most greatly impacted areas in eruption and all that stands between the visitor center and the crater five miles away, there are now more than 34 species of amphibians,  mammals and birds.  This is the highest level of species diversity in the Cascades.  Birds previously thought to be dependent on old growth forests have been found to thrive in the monument, due in part to the abundance of snags left from the eruption. Very few roads exist within the monument, allowing wild back-country access and solitary experiences. In the restricted zone access is limited to roads and trails to preserve the blast-zone for natural recovery and scientific research. Two viewing areas are accessible by vehicle when road conditions allow – Johnston Ridge Observatory (State Route 504) and Windy Ridge (Forest Road 99).

Johnston Ridge Observatory Visitor Center is the flagship of the monument, offering movies in a state-of-the-art theater, interpretive presentations by knowledgeable rangers, an outdoor amphitheater hosting the occasional concert and other events, and an unmatched view of the volcano and crater. It is not to be missed in any visit. Also not to be missed are Windy Ridge and Coldwater Lake.

Recreational activities on the monument include paddling, fishing, hiking, bird-watching, sight-seeing, hunting, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and much more. Mountain climbers returned to the mountain in 1986, and it has since become a bucket-list summit opportunity. Those interested in climbing the mountain need to come prepared for quick changing weather conditions and harsh terrain. Plan for safety and follow leave-no-trace hiking practices.

Established: Aug. 27, 1982
How many acres: 110,000 acres
Unique characteristics: Mount St. Helens is still considered to be an active volcano. There was recorded volcanic activity as recently as 2008. In 2006, a 3.5 magnitude earthquake sent a 2,000-foot ash plume over the western rim of the crater. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument, within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, for research, recreation, and education; making Mount St. Helens the first national monument managed by the Forest Service.

For more information on Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon

A winter time picture of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  Snow-covered land with frosty trees.

What will I see:  It is hard to fathom as you drive through the Monument that you are within a 17 square mile caldera at the summit of a 500 square mile volcano. Newberry is both seismically and geothermally active. Geologists believe the caldera sits over a shallow magma body only 2 to 5 kilometers deep. 

The highest point within the monument is the summit is Paulina Peak at 7,985 feet. The peak showcases views of the Oregon Cascades and across the High Desert. The summit area of Newberry Volcano holds two sparkling alpine lakes full of trout and salmon. One of the most spectacular sites in the monument is Paulina Falls, which drops dramatically nearly 100 feet over volcanic cliffs.  There are two visitor centers in the monument that offer interpretive talks and information about the area.

Established: Nov. 5, 1990
How many acres: 50,000 acres
Unique characteristics:Visitors will see numerous cinder cones (over 400 throughout the area), miles of basalt flows, as well as rhyolite flows of obsidian. Three important geological sites are Lava River Cave, Lava Cast Forest, and Big Obsidian Flow. Lava River Cave is the longest lava tube in Oregon and Lava Cast Forest offers a one-mile self-guided interpretive trail winding across a 7,000 year old Newberry Volcano basalt lava flow that enveloped a mature forest taking the shape of the trees as it cooled. Big Obsidian Flow is Oregon’s youngest lava flow at just 1,300 years old.

For more information on Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest, California

A picture of a Giant Sequoia tree at the monument.

What will I see: In their natural range, old sequoias tower above the forest’s canopy, where their conical crowns easily reach 250 feet or higher. Sequoia’s massive trunks grow to an average of 15 feet across, shielded by thick, cinnamon-colored bark. These giants owe their colossal size to a rapid growth rate that lasts their entire life – a span that ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 years or more.

There are several areas that make visiting the monument a photographer’s delight. Bearskin Grove's open stands offer the rare opportunity to photograph an entire mature sequoia in one shot. Converse Basin Grove is the largest contiguous grove in the world and contains Boole Tree, the largest sequoia on National Forest System land. Belknap Complex is formed from the large sprawling McIntyre Grove, Wheel Meadow Grove and the smaller, compact Carr Wilson, or Bear Creek Grove. This area offers beautiful trails through old-growth sequoias along Bear Creek and the Tule River. Freeman Creek Grove, also known as Lloyd Meadow Grove, is the largest grove outside of a National Park that has not been harvested in an area of about 1,425 acres with sequoias mainly south of Freeman Creek.

The Trail of a Hundred Giants is a mile-long, fully accessible interpretive trail and is the site where President Bill Clinton announced the creation of the monument. The grove contains approximately 125 giant sequoias greater than 10 feet in diameter, and more than 700 giant sequoias less than 10 feet in diameter.

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is a 50-mile route that climbs through a giant sequoia forest and descends into one of North America’s deepest canyons.

Established: April 15, 2000
How many acres: 353,000 acres
Unique characteristics: The Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron Giganteum) is the world’s largest tree. It occurs naturally only in a narrow 60-mile band of mixed conifer forest that is generally between 5,000-8,000 feet in elevation on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. There are 33 sequoia groves in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Featured are six giant sequoia groves that provide a rich, exciting and varied experience for visitors.

For more information on Giant Sequoia National Monument

Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, San Bernardino National Forest, California (co-managed with the Bureau of Land Management)

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

What will I see: Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto. Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the monument significantly contributes to the Coachella Valley’s lure as a popular resort and retirement community. It is also a desirable backcountry destination that can be accessed via trails from both the valley floor and the alpine village of Idyllwild. There are over 500 miles of trail throughout the Monument, including the Pacific Crest National Scenic
Trail. The Monument encompasses diverse biological communities and geological resources, such as large areas associated with the San Andreas Fault, that form major features including mineral hot springs and palm oases.

The popular Palm Springs Aerial Tramway carries tourists through the National Monument to Mt. San Jacinto State Park, also within the Monument boundaries.

The monument is co-managed with the Bureau of Land Management.

Established: Oct. 24, 2000
How many acres: 272,000 acres
Unique characteristics: The Monument encompasses 272,000 acres and embraces a dramatic landscape rising from sea level near Palm Springs to the 10,804-foot San Jacinto Peak. It includes Indian Canyons, the largest system of native fan palms in the U.S., owned and managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians who have inhabited the area for more than 3,000 years. Within the Santa Rosas are sacred sites and landscape features of great importance to the Tribe.

Several Research Natural Areas are protected in cooperation with the University of California. A wide diversity of habitats and plant and animal species call this region home, including threatened and endangered species such as Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep, Least Bell’s Vireo, and Fan Palms. Bald Eagles winter along the shores of Lake Hemet near the Monument. More than 500 species of plants are native to the Monument.

For more information on Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mtns. National Monument

Chimney Rock National Monument, San Juan National Forest, Colorado

Chimney Rock

What will I see:Chimney Rock incorporates spiritual, historic, and scientific resources of great value and significance.  A thousand years ago, the vast Chaco civilization was drawn to the site’s soaring massive rock pinnacles, Chimney Rock and Companion Rock, which rise hundreds of feet to an elevation of 7,600 feet. High atop ancient sandstone formations, Ancestral Pueblo People built exquisite stone buildings, including the highest elevation ceremonial “great house” in the Southwest. The monument is one of the best recognized archaeoastronomical resources in North America. Hundreds of archaeological ruins and buildings from the Pueblo II period are within the boundaries of the site.

Today, descendants of the Ancestral Pueblo People return to this important place of cultural continuity to visit their ancestors and for other spiritual and traditional purposes. It is a living landscape that shapes those who visit it and brings people together across time.

Established:Sept. 21, 2012
How many acres: 4,726 acres
Unique characteristics:The monument is also home to unique vegetative communities. For example, several desert species generally found farther to the south are located on or near some of the archeological sites. A species of cholla cactus (Cylindropuntia sp.) has been identified at the High Mesa site which does not occur naturally outside of the Sonoran Desert and is thought to be associated with deliberate cultivation practices of the Ancestral Pueblo culture.

For more information on Chimney Rock National Monument


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Last modified March 29, 2013

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