President Barack Obama is using his executive authority to order up five new national monuments, making him the president to invoke the Historic Antiquities Act more than any other president in history.
Obama has now created or expanded 34 national monuments, according to the Washington Post, two more than the famous conservationist president Theodore Roosevelt.
According to a statement from the White House, three of the monuments were designated for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in an effort to “promote diversity” in the national parks.
The new monuments are important to the civil rights movement — the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Freedom Riders National Monument and the Reconstruction Era National Monument.
The presidential memo also encourages agencies in charge of managing public land to “to prioritize building a more inclusive Federal workforce,” according to the White House release.
Obama is also expanding existing monuments, enlarging the California Coastal National Monument by 6,230 acres and expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by 47,000 acres.
All told, Obama has used his executive power to set aside about 553,600,000 acres of land and water, during his eight years in office according to the Washington Post.