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Four Gorgeous Places in America That Should Be Protected Parks

Department of Interior

America's natural wonders and historic landmarks are the latest victims of Congressional inaction. In a Los Angeles Times report Monday, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell complains that Congress has failed to pass dozens of public lands bills that would establish new monuments or add territory to already existing parks—and that President Obama could bypass congressional approval.

"The president will not hesitate," Jewell told the paper. "I can tell you that there are places that are ripe for setting aside, with a tremendous groundswell of public support."

The president does have the power to establish monuments through the Antiquities Act of 1906. Obama has used the act nine times during his tenure, including five monuments he designated this March.

The U.S. is home to more than 100 national monuments. The Department of the Interior couldn't provide a formal list of pending sites, but here are four places that lawmakers and communities have lobbied to protect.

Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, California

U.S. Department of the Interior
California legislators propose adding these 1,255 acres to the California Coastal National Monument.

Great Bend of the Gila, Arizona

Alan Stark/Creative Commons
Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona sponsored a bill to name this a national monument, which also includes provisions for scientific research. The Great Bend is also home to some pretty sweet rock art.

Tule Springs Fossil Beds, Nevada

Protectors of Tule Springs/Facebook
Nevada lawmakers want to name Tule Springs, outside Las Vegas, a national monument. The fossils on the site date almost 250,000 years.

Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Bureau of Land Management
Representative Stevan Pearce introduced a bill to designate approximately 54,800 acres of public land in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. Some local leaders say the proposed area doesn't protect enough.