Gazing across the wind- and water-carved cliffs above the pounding surf, it might seem evident such land should be preserved, said Ed Norton, chairman of the board of the Conservation Lands Foundation. But its designation as a national monument "is purely an artifact of human will and human creativity," he said.

The celebration opened with Native American dancers from the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, whose ancestors left evidence of human occupation on the site dating back 4,500 years, and closed with a group of singing Point Arena schoolchildren.

Jewell, wiping tears from her eyes, sang and clapped along with the audience during the students' rendition of "This Land is Your Land."

Asked about it later, she said, "Kids. Beautiful landscape. Our future. Powerful stuff."