Part 142- Why isn’t there a State Monument?

I started this post by listing out everything I did during my break. I got to my 5th day before I changed my mind. Why should I write out a bunch of events that happened, when all I’m doing is describing something? What is really happening there? I’m not really explaining anything I felt other than how beautiful the landscape was. So, I scrapped that post and rewrote a new one. Here it is.

To start off, I want to explain the difference between a few things. Such as a State Park and National Park. National Park and National Monument. Etc.

National Park:

  • A national park is a scenic, or historically important, area that is protected by the  federal government for the enjoyment of the general public

National Monument:

  • A historical site or geographical area set aside by the national government and maintained for public use

National Forest:

  • A large expanse of forest that is owned, maintained, and preserved by the federal government

State Park:

  • An area of land that is protected by a U.S. state because of its natural beauty or importance in the history

State Monument:

  • There is no such thing called a state monument.

State Forest:

  • A forest that is administrated or protected by some agency of a sovereign state or federated state, or territory ( In the United States, it is a forest owned by one of the individual states)

The main difference between these two categories is by what type of government maintains it. A National Park, Forest, and Monument are maintained by the federal government while State Parks and Forests are maintained by a state government.

Comparing Further:

National and State Parks:

Like I said before, the main difference between a State and National Park is by the government that maintains it. This results in how a state park is regulated and kept, depending on where it is located. Also,  National Parks officially belong to the American People while state residents have less control over how their parks are managed. Lastly, many state parks are free, and there are over 10,000 across the nation. 

Considering that National Parks are maintained by a federal government, the parks must be extremely strict. When we visited Yellowstone, there wasn’t a single piece of trash anywhere. People were very diligent in throwing away their litter and making sure the park’s nature is undisturbed. I’m only making an assumption, but perhaps the state parks aren’t as strict. I haven’t been to a state park so I can’t confidently say whether it is as strict or not. But, I am assuming, since it is maintained by a state and state residents have less control, it may not be as litter-free or even strict as National Parks. 

Garner State Park in Texas
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

National Parks and Monuments:

While both are maintained by the NPS and other federal agencies, the primary difference between a National Park and Monument is who creates them. Although both do emphasize historical and scientific importance, they both also protect the natural world.

Congress decides national park status while a national monument is a presidential proclamation. While National monuments focus on a single attraction and are smaller, national parks offer various points of interest.

An example of a National Monument is Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty. These are small and are mainly one thing while a National Park, such as Arches National Park, focuses on multiple points such as the variety of unique arches. 

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

Arches National Park in Utah

National Parks and National Forests:

National forests often surround or neighbor National Parks. National Parks are made to preserve the landscape while National Forests, taking a conservationist approach, allow commercial activities such as mining and logging. There are also fewer recreation restrictions, meaning, for tourists, more relaxed rules at the national forests which may permit hunting and bringing dogs on the trail. 

I think National Forests are just recognized as forests and are federally managed to make sure there aren’t any problems when mining or logging. It’s like a kind of protection and to make sure the tourists and “resource-gatherers” don’t get injured and are heavily affected.

 State Parks, Forests, and natural areas:

State parks are managed in a way to conserve the forest, preserving the unique flora and fauna and habitats, and also ensuring the continued supply of resources such as timber. They are usually divided into three categories based on primary function: production, protection, and conservation forests. 

State parks and natural areas are a different story. State parks are areas of natural or scenic character developed to provide “recreational opportunities.” State natural areas, on the other hand, preserve areas with excellent natural attributes. The primary focus for natural areas is on protecting those resources.

State Monuments:

Even though there is no such thing called a State Monument, I wanted to make a separate section for it. First, I’m curious about why there isn’t such thing called a State Monument. There are State Parks and State Forests but no State Monuments. Is it because, unlike parks and forests, monuments aren’t really natural landscapes, and having two categories for them would be unnecessary? Most likely yes. If so, I would really like to know what a State Monument, if possible, could be. 

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