President Coolidge designated the 1,117 square mile Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in 1924 to preserve what he called, “a most unusual, unearthly lunar landscape.”  Today, it preserves the unique volcanic landscape characterized by vast lava fields, cinder cones, and lava tubes that resulted from a series of volcanic eruptions when Idaho was on the edge of the Pacific Ocean about 15,000 years ago. The flowing lava created a stark, otherworldly landscape that is now also populated with various unique plants and animals adapted to life in the extremes. Some have said that the ocean of lava flows and cinder cone islands at Craters of the Moon is a “weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself.”  It is, in fact, so unique that Apollo astronauts used the area to learn to detect good rock specimens in an unfamiliar and harsh environment.