Washington, Feb 20: US President Barack Obama has announced three new national monuments, in Chicago, as also in Colorado and Hawaii, along with an initiative to make national parks free for children.
The president made the announcement in the historic Pullman neighbourhood of Chicago known for its industrial conflict and civil rights progress, which was converted on Thursday into the first national monument of the city where Obama began his political career.
The ceremony took place in the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, the original headquarters of one of the best technical secondary school in the country, financed by George Pullman, founder of a railway passenger car company and around which he created a neighbourhood.
The neighbourhood was also the birthplace of the first African-American labor union in the country and as pointed out by Obama, also the headquarters from where he began his work as a community leader, his stepping stone into politics.
Obama said that places like Pullman prove that great things could be achieved by working together as a team.
Before leaving for Chicago, Obama designated Browns Canyon in Colorado as another national monument in a decree signed at the Oval Office.
Browns Canyon is a popular destination for nature lovers, especially for rafting.
Also designated as a national park was the Honouliuli Internment Camp in Hawaii which was the largest prison facility during World War II and held 400 civilians and 4,000 prisoners of war.
Obama launched the programme 'Every Kid in a Park' to promote access to free spaces for children with the National Park Service's 100th anniversary approaching in 2016.
The initiative will grant fourth graders and their families free entry to any of the national parks and other attractions under national park service control act for the 2015-2016 school year.