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White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

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Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is located in northern Coconino County, Arizona, United States, immediately south of the Utah state line. This national monument, 293,689 acres (118,852 ha) in area, protects the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. Elevations in the monument range from 3,100 feet to 6,500 feet above sea level (944 to 1,981 meters).

Established on November 9, 2000, by a presidential proclamation by President Bill Clinton, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was carved from existing lands already under the management of the U.S. Government in extreme northern Coconino County, Arizona, immediately south of the border with the state of Utah. The monument is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Vermilion Cliffs themselves run along the southern and eastern edges of the monument. Much of the monument’s land consists of the Paria Plateau, a flat area extending northward from the tops of the cliffs.

The Vermilion Cliffs are steep eroded escarpments consisting primarily of sandstone, siltstone, limestone, and shale which rise as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) above their bases. These sedimentary rocks have been deeply eroded for millions of years, exposing hundreds of layers of richly colored rock strata. Mesas, buttes, and large tablelands are interspersed with steep canyons, where some small streams provide enough moisture to support a sampling of wildlife.

More than twenty species of raptors, including bald eagles and golden eagles, peregrine falcons, and several hawk species, have been observed. The endangered California condor has been re-introduced into this region recently due to its remote location and lack of human habitation. Desert bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and mountain lions make up most of the large mammals found here, with about 30 more species of smaller mammals. Several examples of rare fish species, such as the flannel moth sucker and the speckled dace live in the streams of the monument. The Welsh’s milkweed Asclepias_welshii, a threatened plant species that grows on sand dunes and helps stabilize them, is known to exist only in the monument and one other area in neighboring Utah.

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