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12/28/2016 05:37 PM EST

Two spectacular western landscapes are now permanently protected as our nation’s newest national monuments – Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada. Today, President Obama designated these monuments that preserve sacred land for Native American tribes, gorgeous red rock scenery, and important cultural sites such as rock art and ancient cliff dwellings. Bears Ears National Monument protects the history of hundreds of generations of native peoples who have lived in the surrounding sandstone canyons, desert mesas and meadow mountaintops – it’s also one of the densest and most significant cultural landscapes in the U.S. Gold Butte National Monument – a rugged desert adorned with dramatic red sandstone and twisting canyons – protects significant cultural resources, important geological formations, rare fossils and vital plant and wildlife habitat. 

Photos by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.

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