Vice President Al Gore toured the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River in Washington state today and announced that President Clinton this morning declared the surrounding area a national monument, a designation that needs no congressional approval. The 200,000 acres to be protected include the only remaining free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River, 51 miles that are the spawning grounds of the last great wild salmon runs in the waterway. Clinton also gave national monument status to three other sites: the Canyon of the Ancients in southwestern Colorado, the Soda Mountain area in southern Oregon, and a section of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona that includes ironwood trees that can live for more than 800 years.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.