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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The sky transforms as the sun dips below the horizon surrounding the hoodoos of Devil's Garden in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with color recently.
12 most likely places Obama may make a national monument
First Published May 02 2014 05:16 pm • Last Updated Jul 30 2014 04:43 pm

There is concern among some Utahns that President Barack Obama will use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to add to the list of national parks and monuments in the western United States.

"I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations," he said in his State of the Union address earlier this year.

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Here is a look at 12 of the most likely places Obama would protect.

Alpine Lakes, Washington

Some parts are already a wilderness area but a national monument would expand the area that includes dense low-elevation forests with cougars, black bears, bobcats, elk and deer, according to The Wilderness Society.

Berryessa Snow Mountain, California

Called a "natural treasure" by advocates for preservation, the area is home to lush forests, meadows and Cache Creek. It’s also a site of elk, bald eagles and "rainbows of butterflies."

Boulder-White Clouds, Idaho

Called the crown jewel of central Idaho, this area is where the headwaters of four river systems originate and it features a mountain range that has 10,000-foot peaks. Bighorn sheep, wolverines and rare plant species are found here as well.

Desolation Canyon, eastern Utah

This stretch includes undiscovered archaeological treasures along the Green River as well as steep cliffs and Gothic spires. It is home to bighorn sheep, elk and deer. The Wilderness Society says the area is "one of the most remote and rugged stretches of river in the American West."

Greater Canyonlands, southeastern Utah

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance calls this area one of the last untouched frontiers in the West. It includes cliffs and canyons dotted with lush areas home to many species. The area also includes the Green, Dirty Devil and San Rafael rivers.

Organ Mountains, New Mexico

The rugged mountain terrain is touted as one of the steepest ranges in the western United States by supporters of a monument designation.

Organ Needle stretches to 4,000 feet in elevation, and other parts feature steep canyons and spires.

Rocky Mountain Front, Montana

Then-Sen. Max Baucus had proposed the area as a heritage area to protect the scenic region that stretches from Montana’s plains to Glacier National Park. The Nature Conservancy says it’s one of the "most biologically rich" regions with free-roaming grizzly bears and herds of bison.

San Gabriels, California

Known as the "backyard" for millions of Los Angeles residents, the rugged mountains include two national forests that provide water and clean air to the region and recreational opportunities not too far from crowded cities.

San Rafael Swell, Emery County, Utah

Then-Gov. Mike Leavitt first pitched some parts of the central Utah area for a monument but efforts stalled. The sandstone, shale and limestone desertscape includes Native American drawings as well as valleys, canyons, gorges and mesas.

Diné Bikéyah, San Juan County, Utah

This red-rock area south of Canyonlands National Park in San Juan County includes forests as well as ancient Native American dwellings in an area known as Cedar Mesa. The Navajo Nation is pushing for a wilderness designation but may ask for a monument if Congress doesn’t act.

Gold Butte, Nevada

The area near the Grand Canyon and Nevada’s Lake Mead includes mountains, Joshua tree forests, petroglyphs and rock art. Slot canyons provide a picturesque scene along the sandstone areas that still include some remnants of early mining ventures.

Tule Springs, Nevada

Supporters of a monument cite the arid desert on the outskirts of Las Vegas as a unique region loaded with fossils of ice age mammoths, bison and sloths the "size of sports cars." The fossils, remaining untouched for centuries, are a treasure trove for archeologists and represent a span of some 250,000 years in flora and fauna.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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