Some monuments are now at the center of the fight against racism. Statues of figures from the Old South, particularly of Confederate generals and leaders, have been pulled down. Supporters of the goals of the war over a century ago, object. There are also monuments that commemorate events and people who are more widely accepted as leaders and heroes. Their monuments are often widely visited.
Monuments are often erected with private funds. Groups of people who want a person remembered hire sculptures and buy land. Others are paid for by states or the federal government.
National monuments, however, are areas of land and water that may or may not contain memorials or historic structures and that are set aside for preservation usually by presidents.
To identify the most popular national monument in 2020, 24/7 Tempo reviewed last 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 (NM) 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 a total of 84 national monuments. Of the 30 most visited in 2020, six are in Arizona, four in California, and three in New Mexico.
The most popular national monument is Cedar Breaks. Here are some details:
> Recreation visits in 2020: 845,867
> Share of all NM recreation visits in 2020: 9.31%
> Location: Brian Head, Utah