America’s Lost National Monuments and the Limits of the National Park System

Authors: Joe Weber*, University Of Alabama
Topics: Natural Resources, Tourism Geography, Transportation Geography
Keywords: National Monument, National Park Service, Protected Areas, Tourism
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 43
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The United States national park system currently consists of 421 units, but this does not include twenty-eight units removed from the system. Among these were eight western national monuments that included two caves, a fossil site, high mountain parks, desert buttes, and a Native Alaskan village. They were typical small monuments created to preserve historic or scientific features. The National Park Service developed other parks for tourism but was unable and unwilling to develop the eight monuments in this fashion, and after several decades each was removed from the park system. They are often seen as having been unworthy additions to the system, yet had they remained in the system longer they may have been developed and expanded. This paper seeks to create a more positive view of these lost monuments as well as showing how they make evident limits to the expansion of the national park system.

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