Oregon’s National Monuments
National monuments celebrate and protect parts of our collective human and natural history. They focus on areas that commemorate a prehistoric or historic event, honor an individual or group of people, or preserve a site that has exceptional public or scientific interest. National monuments can be created in two different ways as defined by the Antiquities Act of 1906, either by Presidential Proclamation or by an act of Congress. One-hundred twenty-nine national monuments have been designated for protection in the United States. The first in 1906 and the most recent in 2021.
Oregon has four national monuments, including Newberry National Volcanic Monument, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. They were designated as national monuments primarily because of their importance to our geologic, natural, and cultural heritage. All contain a rich history of geologic features whose scientific importance overlaps with the cultural, ecological, educational, aesthetic, and recreational values of the State of Oregon.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument provides visitors with opportunities to explore an active volcano and wander through part of the vast lava lands of central Oregon. High ground located atop volcanic vents offer stunning panoramic views of the Cascade Range, the High Desert, and Newberry Volcano itself.
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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Rocks and fossils found in the John Day Basin have been the focus of geologic investigations for 160 years, starting with those led by Dr. Thomas Condon. Visitors to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument today experience a journey through time, where the rocks and fossils provide details about how life evolved in this area over the past 45 million years.
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Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is an often-overlooked jewel located southeast of Cave Junction in Josephine County. It is within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and managed by the National Park Service. The Oregon Caves and a surrounding area of about 484 acres were originally recognized and designated as a national monument by Presidential executive order in 1909.
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Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument straddles the Oregon-California border near Ashland in Jackson County. This 114,000-acre national monument was established by Presidential proclamation in 2000 in recognition of the area’s remarkable ecology and to protect its diverse range of biological, geological, aquatic, archeological, and historic resources.