President Obama creates world’s largest reserve

©Mark Sullivan/NOAA

President Obama has expanded a national marine monument off the coast of Hawaii, making it the largest protected area on the planet. The park, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, now encompasses 582,578 square miles of both land and sea, which is quadruple the size of the original park. This decision came after scientists, environmentalists and Hawaiians pushed for more protection due to threats of climate change and seabed mining. Read more about the marine reserve at The Washington Post.

In related news, on Wednesday, which marked the National Parks Service’s centennial, President Obama designated a new national monument on more than 87,500 acres of land in Maine’s North Woods. The new park is the second national monument in the state along with Acadia National Park. Read more about it at National Geographic.