Antiquities Act Aids Protection of Lands

By Butler, Mike | News Sentinel, July 25, 2015 | Go to article overview

Antiquities Act Aids Protection of Lands


Butler, Mike, News Sentinel


This past week some of our closest family friends embarked upon a Griswoldesque vacation by driving through the magnificent landscapes of southern Utah, northern Arizona and California on their way to San Francisco.

On this trip, they are taking the time to see many of America's grandest national parks and monuments.

And in case you missed it, another significant thing occurred -- President Barack Obama announced the creation of three new national monuments. The White House provided these specifics on the new monuments:

n Berryessa Snow Mountain in California -- a landscape containing rare biodiversity and an abundance of recreational opportunities.

n Waco Mammoth in Texas -- a significant paleontological site featuring well-preserved remains of 24 Columbian mammoths.

n Basin and Range in Nevada -- an iconic American landscape that includes rock art dating back 4,000 years and serves as an irreplaceable resource for archaeologists, historians and ecologists.

But what is interesting about these designations is that they were done via the little understood, but vitally important, Antiquities Act.

Initially signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has since been used by 16 presidents (eight Republicans and eight Democrats) to create more than 130 national monuments.

Nearly half of our national parks, including the magnificent Grand Canyon and Death Valley, were initially protected as national monuments. Recent monuments -- including Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers in Ohio, Fort Monroe in Virginia, Harriet Tubman in Maryland, Fort Ord in California and Chimney Rock in Colorado -- have been established following thorough public involvement and with bipartisan support locally and in Congress. …

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