Two New National Natural Landmarks Designated
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Park Service today announced the designation of two new national natural landmarks. The two landmarks – one in southern Georgia and one in northeastern Oregon – were designated on April 3 by the U.S. Department of the Interior and are outstanding examples of two ecosystems that have nearly vanished in the U.S.
The new national natural landmarks are the Wade Tract Preserve in Thomas County, Georgia, and Zumwalt Prairie in Wallowa County, Oregon. Each site has been identified and evaluated through a rigorous process - including a scientific evaluation and public comment period - to formally acknowledge their outstanding biological or geological features.
“The National Natural Landmark Program encourages preservation of our nation’s natural heritage as well as enhances our scientific understanding of these unique places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “By designating these remarkable sites as national natural landmarks, we recognize two extraordinary examples of landscapes in America that were commonplace at one time, but are now rarely seen intact.”
There are now 596 national natural landmarks with the addition of:
- Wade Tract Preserve which is one of the last old-growth stands of longleaf pine left in the world. Scientists believe the site illustrates what portions of this region of the U.S. looked like at the time of European settlement. Trees within the privately-owned landmark range from saplings to trees well in excess of 300 years old.
- Zumwalt Prairie which is the best example of bunchgrass prairie remaining in North America. This large, high-quality natural area also contains aspen groves, riparian woodlands, sagebrush shrublands, and bottomland wet grasslands. The size and diversity of the site allow it to support large populations of raptors and mammals. The new landmark is owned by The Nature Conservancy and is located within a 100,000-acre preserve.
In addition to the new designations, an expansion to the boundary of Garden Park Fossil Area National Natural Landmark was also approved. The expanded designation includes five significant quarries highlighting discoveries that include the three most complete Stegosaurus skeletons ever found. Garden Park Fossil Area is located in Fremont County, Colorado, and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It is among the most important and diverse Late Jurassic age fossil sites in North America.
Administered by the National Park Service, the National Natural Landmarks Program http://www.nature.nps.gov/nnl/ was established in 1962. It is the only natural areas program of national scope to encourage the preservation of the best remaining examples of the nation’s biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. The federal designation imposes no new land use restrictions that were not in effect prior to designation.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov