National monument proposed for area near OR’s Painted Hills

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FILE – In this May 26, 2005, file photo, a half mile hike offers one of many spectacular views at the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument near Mitchell, Ore. Trip visits to the national monument, along with other Oregon areas such as Crater Lake National Park and Smith Rock State Park, surged in 2014 as part of a $2.3 million Seven Wonders campaign by Wieden+Kennedy ad agency. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A new national monument at Sutton Mountain near Central Oregon’s Painted Hills has been proposed by Oregon’s U.S. senators.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports Sutton Mountain stands in the backdrop of the iconic view overlooking the Painted Hills. The hills themselves are already featured as one of three distinct units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden on Wednesday announced legislation to protect an even larger area surrounding the Painted Hills as part of a new Sutton Mountain National Monument.

The 66,000-acre monument would include Sutton Mountain itself along with several popular recreation sites like Pats Cabin, Sand Mountain and Priest Hole.

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