“Monument” can be a confusing word when it comes to places people can visit. Monuments, as statues, have been in the news recently. Models of Confederate leaders, particularly generals, have been torn down across America. Some parts of the country have large collections of monuments. The best example of this may be the dozens of monuments scattered across Central Park in New York City.
The federal government has its own designation for national monuments. The first of these was created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. It is known as Devil’s Tower and is in Wyoming. There are now 129 national monuments, operated by the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Defense, Energy, Agriculture and Commerce.
Some of these monuments cover vast areas, like Admiralty Island in Alaska. Others cover less than an acre, such as the African Burial Ground in New York City.
To identify the most popular national monument in 2020, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the year’s recreational visits published in the National Park Service’s annual visitation report. The NPS aggregates visitation data for various government land designations and visitation purposes. Only national monuments were considered in our analysis.
The NPS takes care of more than 85 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Though NPS locations are generally referred to as parks, there are several name designations. The NPS manages 84 national monuments.
Monuments in the west and southwest are the most visited, perhaps suggesting people living in those regions are the biggest fans of national monuments. Of the 30 most visited in 2020, six are in Arizona, four in California and three in New Mexico.
The most visited national monument in America is Cedar Breaks. Here are the details:
- Recreation visits in 2020: 845,867
- Share of all national monument recreation visits in 2020: 9.31%
- Location: Brian Head, Utah
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