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05/21/2014 05:05 PM EDT

Today President Obama signed a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico. By establishing the monument, the President permanently protected nearly 500,000 acres to preserve the prehistoric, historic, and scientific values of the area for the benefit of all Americans. A recent independent study found that a new national monument could generate $7.4 million in new economic activity annually from new visitors and business opportunities while preserving access for sportsmen, ranchers, and recreational users.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management