States With the Most National Monuments

Arizona and California, both in the United States, have 18 national monuments.

A national monument is a protected area in the United States (US) that can be built from any piece of federal property with the President’s approval. A national monument can also be established by legislation passed by Congress. National monuments are managed by several federal organizations, most notably the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Devils Tower in Wyoming was the country’s first national monument, created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. There are presently 129 national monuments in the United States, spread over 32 states.

National Monuments
National Monuments ( Image Credit: Flickr )

Examples of US National Monuments

Arizona and California have the most national monuments in the United States, each with 18 in total. New Mexico has the third-most national monuments, with 14, followed by Utah (9) and Colorado (8), in that order.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine

The Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument is the country’s largest, spanning over 583,000 square miles. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) oversee the monument, which is located near Honolulu, Hawaii. The monument, which was created in 2006, is made up of atolls and ten islands. The monument’s original area was 140,000 square miles, but it was expanded to its current size in 2016. Over 7,000 species call the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument home, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and the rare hawksbill sea turtle.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower, also known as Bear Lodge Butte, is a Wyoming landmark in Crook County. The butte was declared as the first monument on September 24, 1906. The monument is around 867 feet tall from base to summit, but the protected area encompasses 545 acres and attracts over 400,000 visitors each year. Like the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument, Devils Tower is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, bald eagles, and prairie dogs. Some Devils Tower locations, including Entrance Road, are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Castle Clinton

Castle Clinton, originally known as Castle Garden, is arguably the most visited national monument in the United States. In 2018, Castle Garden alone had 4,533,564 visitors. Castle Clinton (also known as Fort Clinton) is a sandstone fort located in Manhattan’s Battery Park that was constructed between 1808 and 1811. The one-acre monument was originally meant to be the first US immigration post.

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National Park Service (NPS)

In the National Park System, national monuments alone span about 3,600 square miles. As a result, it is not surprising that the National Park Service (NPS) is in charge of the greatest number of national monuments. The National Park Service presently manages 85 monuments, with the Bureau of Land Management (one monument) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (one monument) sharing two of them. 28 monuments are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

List of US States With the Most National Monuments

RankUS StateNational Monuments
3New Mexico14
6New York6
22Washington, DC2
30New Jersey1
32South Dakota1

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