“I want to make sure that the whole world is able to pass on to future generations the God-given beauty of this planet," the president said in a video the White House released on Facebook.
The president has taken members of his family to national parks -- including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon -- on a handful of occasions, but he more frequently travels to these sites on his own, to highlight his environmental agenda. Last year he went to the Florida Everglades and the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, for example, to underscore the threats posed by climate change.
The video scrolls through more than a dozen national monuments Obama has declared under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president the ability to unilaterally protect federal lands and waters. Obama has protected more than 265 million acres on land and sea through his executive authority, most of which came through expanding a series of marine protected areas in the central Pacific.
Obama is currently weighing whether to protect several other sites, ranging from a Native American site in Utah that is being looted to an area in Maine's North Woods. He may also expand a network of marine reserves in his home state of Hawaii, Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, which President George W. Bush designated a decade ago.
"The National Park Service Turns 100 in August," the text in the video reads. "But President Obama Plans to Celebrate Early."
Yosemite, one of the nation's most iconic parks, actually predates the U.S. national park system. Congress protected it by passing the Yosemite Grant in 1864, which President Lincoln signed into law. Carlsbad Caverns, which are located in the Guadalupe Mountains of Southeastern New Mexico, were first protected as a national monument in 1923 by President Coolidge. They include a cave chamber – the Big Room – which ranks as the fifth largest natural limestone chamber in the world.
The White House has yet to detail what activities the first family will do on their trip. But Obama has spoken publicly several times, including at a fundraiser in New York City Wednesday, about how he is upset at the thought that Malia is about to graduate from high school.
"I do a lot of commencements around this time of year -- which I love doing, although my older daughter is graduating this week and I will not be able to handle that well," he said. "But when it's other kids graduating, I feel joyful and I'm happy."
With any luck, the president can at least spend part of Father's Day with his daughters by his side.