Photos: Biden designates 2 new national monuments, Spirit Mountain and Castner Range

The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and the Castner Range National Monument in El Paso, Texas, protect areas significant to several Native American tribes.

A wind and snow storm builds along the mountains of the Spirit Mountain Wilderness in Laughlin, Nev.
A wind and snow storm builds along the mountains of the Spirit Mountain Wilderness in Laughlin, Nev., in March 2021. (George Rose/Getty Images)
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President Biden designated two new national monuments on Tuesday: the Spirit Mountain area in southern Nevada and Castner Range in West Texas.

The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument will span about 506,000 acres. Its namesake mountain, Avi Kwa Ame, which means “Spirit Mountain” in the Mojave language, reaches a peak of 5,963 feet. The area is considered sacred by several Native American tribes, and also contains one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests.

The Castner Range National Monument in El Paso, Texas, which consists of 6,672 acres of “high-desert mountains,” was home to several Native American tribes, including the Apache and Pueblo peoples, before it served as a training and testing site for the U.S. Army until 1966. Its designation as a national monument, the White House said, “will protect the cultural, scientific and historic objects found within the monument’s boundaries, honor our veterans, servicemembers, and Tribal Nations, and expand access to outdoor recreation on our public lands.”

National monuments are “nationally significant lands and waters set aside for permanent protection,” the National Parks Conservation Association explains, and can only be created using land already owned by the federal government. Unlike national parks, which are created by legislation passed by Congress, national monuments can be created by U.S. presidents via authority granted to them in the Antiquities Act of 1906. Since the act was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, over 150 national monuments have been created by 18 presidents.

Check out the photos of the new monuments below.

A craggy peak looks onto a rolling range and a large town spread out on the plains below.
Castner Range National Monument in Texas from above, looking down from South Franklin Mountain. It's a long, difficult way down. (Samat Jain via Flickr)
Petroglyphs on the rock face in Hiko Springs Canyon include a rectangle with five bars and two vertical rows of interlocking lozenges.
Petroglyphs in Hiko Springs Canyon, a creek with cultural significance for the tribes of the area, in Laughlin, Nev. (Kyle Grillot for the Washington Post via Getty Images)
The view over to Spirit Mountain, with an inhabited settlement on the plain below it.
Spirit Mountain in the Eastern Mojave Desert, with Bullhead City, Ariz., in the foreground and Laughlin, Nev., in the background. (Wes Dickinson via Flickr)
A vast array of stars in the night sky in the Spirit Mountain Wilderness.
Stars above the Spirit Mountain Wilderness. (Kyle Grillot for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The peaks of the Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area.
The Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. (Ken Lund via Flickr)
A steep hillside set with trees struggling to survive and a craggy peak in the background.
In Spirit Mountain's Newberry Mountains in southern Nevada. (Stan Shebs via Wikipedia)