THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 9, 2000
BOUNDARY ENLARGEMENT OF THE CRATERS
OF THE MOON NATIONAL MONUMENT
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Craters of the Moon National Monument was established on May 2,
1924 (Presidential Proclamation 1694), for the purpose of protecting the
unusual landscape of the Craters of the Moon lava field. This "lunar"
landscape was thought to resemble that of the Moon and was described in the
Proclamation as "weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself." The
unusual scientific value of the expanded monument is the great diversity of
exquisitely preserved volcanic features within a relatively small area.
The expanded monument includes almost all the features of basaltic
volcanism, including the craters, cones, lava flows, caves, and fissures of
the 65-mile-long Great Rift, a geological feature that is comparable to the
great rift zones of Iceland and Hawaii. It comprises the most diverse and
geologically recent part of the lava terrain that covers the southern Snake
River Plain, a broad lava plain made up of innumerable basalt lava flows
that erupted during the past 5 million years.
Since 1924, the monument has been expanded and boundary adjustments
made through four presidential proclamations issued pursuant to the
Antiquities Act (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431). Presidential Proclamation
1843 of July 23, 1928, expanded the monument to include certain springs for
water supply and additional features of scientific interest. Presidential
Proclamation 1916 of July 9, 1930, Presidential Proclamation 2499 of July
18, 1941, and Presidential Proclamation 3506 of November 19, 1962, made
further adjustments to the boundaries. In 1996, a minor boundary
adjustment was made by section 205 of the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands
Management Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-333, 110 Stat. 4093, 4106).
This Proclamation enlarges the boundary to assure protection of the
entire Great Rift volcanic zone and associated lava features, all objects
of scientific interest. The Craters of the Moon, Open Crack, Kings Bowl,
and Wapi crack sets and the associated Craters of the Moon, Kings Bowl, and
Wapi lava fields constitute this volcanic rift zone system. Craters of the
Moon is the largest basaltic volcanic field of dominantly Holocene age
(less than 10,000 years old) in the conterminous United States. Each of
the past eruptive episodes lasted up to several hundred years in duration
and was separated from other eruptive episodes by quiet periods of several
hundred years to about 3,000 years. The first eruptive episode began about
15,000 years ago and the latest ended about 2,100 years ago.
Craters of the Moon holds the most diverse and youngest part of the
lava terrain that covers the southern Snake River Plain of Idaho, a broad
plain made up of innumerable basalt lava flows during the past 5 million
years. The most recent eruptions at
the Craters of the Moon took place about 2,100 years ago and were likely
witnessed by the Shoshone people, whose legend speaks of a serpent on a
mountain who, angered by lightening, coiled around and squeezed the
mountain until the rocks crumbled and melted, fire shot from cracks, and
liquid rock flowed from the fissures as the mountain exploded. The
volcanic field now lies dormant, in the latest of a series of quiet periods
that separate the eight eruptive episodes during which the 60 lava flows
and 25 cinder cones of this composite volcanic field were formed. Some of
the lava flows traveled distances of as much as 43 miles from their vents,
and some flows diverged around areas of higher ground and rejoined
downstream to form isolated islands of older terrain surrounded by new
lava. These areas are called "kipukas."
The kipukas provide a window on vegetative communities of the past
that have been erased from most of the Snake River Plain. In many
instances, the expanse of rugged lava surrounding the small pocket of soils
has protected the kipukas from people, animals, and even exotic plants. As
a result, these kipukas represent some of the last nearly pristine and
undisturbed vegetation in the Snake River Plain, including 700-year-old
juniper trees and relict stands of sagebrush that are essential habitat for
sensitive sage grouse populations. These tracts of relict vegetation are
remarkable benchmarks that aid in the scientific study of changes to
vegetative communities from recent human activity as well as the role of
natural fire in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem.
The Kings Bowl lava field and the Wapi lava field are included in the
enlarged monument. The Kings Bowl field erupted during a single fissure
eruption on the southern part of the Great Rift about 2,250 years ago.
This eruption probably lasted only a few hours to a few days. The field
preserves explosion pits, lava lakes, squeeze-ups, basalt mounds, and an
ash blanket. The Wapi field probably formed from a fissure eruption
simul-taneously with the eruption of the Kings Bowl field. With more
prolonged activity over a period of months to a few years, the Wapi field
formed a low shield volcano. The Bear Trap lava tube, located between the
Craters of the Moon and the Wapi lava fields, is a cave system more than 15
miles long. The lava tube is remarkable for its length and for the number
of well preserved lava-cave features, such as lava stalactites and curbs,
the latter marking high stands of the flowing lava forever frozen on the
lava tube walls. The lava tubes and pit craters of the monument are known
for their unusual preservation of winter ice and snow into the hot summer
months, due to shielding from the sun and the insulating properties of the
Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431),
authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public
proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and
other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the
lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be
national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the
limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be
WHEREAS it appears that it would be in the public interest to reserve
such lands as an addition to the Craters of the Moon National Monument:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States
of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of June
8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby
set apart and reserved
as an addition to the Craters of the Moon National Monument, for the
purpose of protecting the objects identified above, all lands and interests
in lands owned or controlled by the United States within the boundaries of
the area described on the map entitled "Craters of the Moon National
Monument Boundary Enlargement" attached to and forming a part of this
proclamation. The Federal land and interests in land reserved consist of
approximately 661,287 acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the
proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this
monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry,
location, selection, sale, or leasing or other disposition under the public
land laws, including but not limited to withdrawal from location, entry,
and patent under the
mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and
geothermal leasing, other than by exchange that furthers the protective
purposes of the monument. For the purpose of protecting the objects
identified above, the Secretary shall prohibit all motorized and mechanized
vehicle use off road, except for emergency or authorized administrative
Lands and interests in lands within the proposed monument not owned by
the United States shall be reserved as a part of the monument upon
acquisition of title thereto by the United States.
The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a transportation plan that
addresses the actions, including road closures or travel restrictions,
necessary to protect the objects identified in this proclamation.
The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the area being added to the
monument through the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park
Service, pursuant to legal authorities, to implement the purposes of this
proclamation. The National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management
shall manage the monument cooperatively and shall prepare an agreement to
share, consistent with applicable laws, whatever resources are necessary to
manage properly the monument; however, the National Park Service shall have
primary management authority over the portion of the monument that includes
the exposed lava flows, and shall manage the area under the same laws and
regulations that apply to the current monument. The Bureau of Land
Management shall have primary management authority over the remaining
portion of the monument, as indicated on the map entitled, "Craters of the
Moon National Monument Boundary Enlargement."
Wilderness Study Areas included in the monument will continue to be
managed under section 603(c) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act
of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701-1782).
The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish
the jurisdiction of the State of Idaho with respect to fish and wildlife
This proclamation does not reserve water as a matter of Federal law.
Nothing in this reservation shall be construed as a relinquishment or
reduction of any water use or rights reserved or appropriated by the United
States on or before the date of this proclamation. The Secretary shall
work with appropriate State authorities to ensure that water resources
needed for monument purposes are available.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish
the rights of any Indian tribe.
Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the Bureau of Land
Management in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on all
lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard to the
lands in the monument administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing
withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national monument
shall be the dominant reservation.
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to
appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and
not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of
November, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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