Why the Antiquities Act is Important to The Mountaineers

The Antiquities Act is an important tool for preserving areas for outdoor recreation and conservation. We are concerned about legislation recently introduced to limit the effectiveness of the Antiquities Act.
Luke Hogfoss Luke Hogfoss
November 02, 2015

Some of our country's most iconic outdoor areas, from San Juans National Monument in Washington State to places like Giant Sequoia and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, are designated through the Antiquities Act. This Act gives the President authority to protect natural, cultural, or scientific features through the creation of a National Monument designation. We're concerned about legislation recently introduced to limit its effectiveness.

an Effective Tool

The Antiquities Act is a crucial tool for outdoor recreation. Creating a National Monument through the Antiquities Act can be quicker than through a legislative process. 

We also appreciate how National Monument processes can include specifics for outdoor recreation. For example, with National Monument designations, guidelines are specific for the needs of the area, like how Browns Canyon National Monument has special provisions for managing rafting and paddling. This allows for the specific needs the area to be considered during the designation process, ensuring the future of pre-existing recreation in those areas.

Antiquities Act is Under Pressure

We believe that the Antiquities Act has been extremely important to the outdoor recreation community, and we hope to see it used as an effective tool for many years to come. That's why we're concerned by some recent resistance against the Antiquities Act.

Legislation has been proposed to limit the capabilities of the Antiquities Act. This new bill would hinder the Antiquities Act by:

  • Making a National Monument designation go through a NEPA review, which has an average waiting time of 6 years, allowing environmentally destructive activities to continue for years.
  • Limiting the president to one National Monument proclamation per term.

National Monuments Boost Local Economies

National Monuments not only protect outdoor areas but they also help boost local economies. This study shows how communities adjacent to national monuments had expanding economies following a National Monument’s creation.

Learn More


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