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Overview *

Welcome to the National Monuments Highpoints web site. You are now a Monument Mounter! ... having graduated from other lists like county and park highpointing.

National Monuments are a logical progression for those interested in the hobby of highpointing. The list of state highpoints has been around since 1909, and was first finished in 1936. The list of county highpoints was created a decade ago. Less than 3% of the 3,142 county highpoints remain unvisited by our group here at cohp.org. The National Parks list was created over a decade ago, and refined in the intervening years. Now only 2 of 59 (4%) remain unvisited by Park Pointers.

Itís time for a new challenge!

National Monuments represent an excellent set of objectives for those pursuing highpoints of geopolitical boundaries. While states and counties represent the most basic divisions in our lives, National Parks and National Monuments represent the best of the best in terms of preserved areas in our nation. These special sites are our most-loved places with historical and natural beauty. So why not visit their highpoints? Itís one of the most rewarding lists you can pursue.

So whatís the difference between a National Park and a National Monument? A Park is a tract of land set aside because of spectacular scenery, with visitation encouraged.

A Monument is a natural landmark, or structure/site of historic interest, set aside for public enjoyment or study. Monuments are frequently preservation first, and public enjoyment secondarily. Access can be frustrating at times, and we encourage visitation to the highest point of natural ground allowed by the Monument's superviser.

Some of the Monuments are merely cultural resources such as old forts. Some are what you would term archeological treasures, dating back thousands of years. Others are geological wonders; too small to be a Park, but wonderful enough to be protected at the highest levels afforded by our nation. Some of the Monuments are set aside to preserve natural lands, forests, lakes, and rivers which are not geologically unique or even special, but are part of a dwindling resource we can not afford to lose.

Note that there are other worthy divisions, such as National Seashores and National Forests. Some of those lists are being developed and pursued as well.

Enjoy visiting National Monuments, and communicate with us (Dave C. and John M.) as you visit these special places. Please feel free to post your comments and trip reports on the Yahoo! cohp E-mail group (cohp@yahoogroups.com).

You are encouraged to create a National Monument Personal Completion Map and send it to Adam Helman for posting.

A brief history of National Monument highpoint research follows.

History and Acknowledgements

John Mitchler and Dave Covill wondered what could be their next passion back in 2004. The two of them had been to many state, county, and National Park highpoints, and had run out of things to do close to home. Fortunately they live in Colorado, within a days drive of about half of the National Monuments....

John Mitchler generated the National Monument list as of January 31, 2005 based on the data in this National Park Service web page.

David Olson identified 80 highpoints as of January 31, 2005. Thank you, David!

Subsequent highpoint research was primarily by Mitchler and Covill. Dave Covill provided considerable additional research, including separation of ownership status into the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Forest Service.

John Mitchler researched the creation and extinction of each National Monument.

John and Dave discovered that, while the NPS is the primary guardian of the National Monuments (75 of 109), they are by no means the sole proprietors of this shop. The BLM, FS, FWS, NOAA, states, TNC and AFRH are also involved. Since the 1990ís, most Monuments have been created from federal lands of some sort, and that agency which formerly managed the resource was commonly allowed to continue to manage it as a Monument. There are several instances of co-management, between several government agencies cooperating.

As of April 2013 there have been 191 National Monuments created, of which 109 survive to this day. Nine of the 191 were simply renamed, while 73 have gone extinct (morphed into another form - 32 became National Parks).

Since we began this project in 2004, many new Monuments have been created. They seem to pop out of nowhere once every year or so - often the result of years of tireless pursuit by enthusiasts at the local level, and made possible by declarations of Presidents leaving office and wishing to leave a legacy. Of the 191 National Monuments, 143 owe their origin to Presidential Decree, 47 to acts of Congress, and one as a joint effort by Congress and the President.

This promises to be a dynamic hobby, with new Monuments (and highpoints) being created often.

Welcome to a new list to obsess over!

* Overview and History by Dave Covill and John Mitchler.


Disclaimer

Attempting to reach some of the points listed in this web site can be dangerous, and could lead to accidents resulting in injury or death. Some of the summits lie in rugged and isolated regions, where even minor mishaps can escalate into a life threatening crisis. Other locations lie on private property, military bases, and other areas where access is restricted. Trespassing in these areas can result in being arrested, shot at, or worse. Right of access to these areas is constantly changing, and access in the past does not guarantee present access. By use of this web page, the reader hereby releases the trip report authors, trip report compiler, and webmaster from liability for any injury, including but not limited to monetary loss, death, and other damages that might in any way be connected with this web site.

FAIR WARNING: These are "armchair mountaineer" articles, an offering for amusement, not action. Many of these peaks are potentially life threatening, or are on private property. Adequate mountaineer training and/or owner's permission are required if you choose to pursue this list. The authors cited on this page accept no responsibility for injury, or any liability related to these route descriptions.