FIENDISH. DIABOLICAL. That’s how a local Arizona newspaper described efforts to protect a nearby landmark, arguing that “the fate of Arizona depends exclusively upon the development of her mineral resources.”
The year was 1897. The area in question was the Grand Canyon, which overcame these objections to become a national monument, and later, a national park.
More than a century and 129 national monuments later, our public lands have paid dividends—for local economies and our national legacy—on the far-sighted decisions to protect them.
THE ANTIQUITIES ACTMore than half of America’s national parks were first protected as national monuments, including Acadia, Olympic, and Zion National Parks.LEARN MORE
But sometimes the politics of the day obscure the big picture. Enter the Trump administration, the first to ever attempt to reverse a national monument designation. The president’s April executive order directing that 27 national monuments be considered for the chopping block has set in motion a review by the Department of the Interior that is currently underway. (You have until July 10th to weigh in on the fate of these monuments.Send your message today.)
The executive order threatens not only some of our nation’s youngest monuments, but also the public lands law that safeguards all national monuments, present and future: the Antiquities Act of 1906. Undermining monument designations and protections would establish a dangerous precedent.