The United States has 63 protected areas designated and known as national parks and 129 protected areas known as national monuments.

National Parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress. The president of the United States can establish a national monument by presidential proclamation, and the United States Congress can do so by legislation. The president’s authority arises from the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the president to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments.

National parks are designated for their natural beauty, unique geological features, diverse ecosystems, and recreational opportunities. National monuments, on the other hand, are frequently chosen for their historical or archaeological significance.

A bill creating the first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming, on September 24, 1906.

The National Park Service, along with US Forest Service and US Bureau of Land Management, are responsible for the management and administering of US Public Lands. A complete list of those Parks, Monuments, and areas can be found here:

National Park Service
US Forest Service
US Bureau of Land Management

NameNational Park / Monument / Forest / Natural Landmark
Walnut Canyon National MonumentNational Monument
Wupatki National MonumentNational Monument
Coconino National ForestNational Forest
Sunset Volcano Crater National MonumentNational Monument
Grand Canyon National ParkNational Park
Petrified Forest National Park and Painted DesertNational Park