The Antiquities Act enables the President to designate existing areas on public lands as National Monuments. National Monuments are flexible designations, and the management rules are responsive to the unique needs of individual places. For instance, Browns Canyon is one of the most popular rafting destinations in the world. It was recently designated a National Monument, and had special provisions for managing rafting and paddling.
1. Both parties love to use the Antiquities Act.
Nearly every president has used the Antiquities Act to protect treasured places on America’s public lands. Since its inception, 16 presidents, including Reagan, Clinton, and Roosevelt, have used the Act to protect millions of acres.
2. The Antiquities Act prizes collaboration.
Before National Monuments are designated, the White House typically works with local stakeholders, including businesses, conservation groups, guides and outfitters, and county residents, to decide what the protected area will look like and how it will be used. This process gives local and more distant stakeholders a tremendous amount of control over the final designation.
3. Even though a lot of people are involved, National Monuments can be the best way to protect a special place.
Even though it can take years for stakeholders to agree on what a National Monument should look like, they have more control than if a bill must go through Congress. Unlike presidential designations, Congressional legislation often results in hard-won local compromises falling victim to unrelated political horse-trading.
4. Show me the money!
National Monuments are proven economic drivers. Studies have shown that communities near National Monuments see economic growth through tourism, recreation, and improved property values.
5. Protects world-class recreation.
National Monument designations have protected some of the best places in the country to hike, paddle, ski, climb, and bike. From the Grand Canyon to Devils Tower in Wyoming, the Antiquities Act has protected some of the most outstanding recreation in the world.
We recently sent a letter to the White House, commending the President’s use of the Antiquities Act to protect amazing places and ensure access to outdoor recreation for a diverse group of Americans, including those who live in big cities. Read the letter we sent right here.