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National Monument Proclamations under the Antiquities Act

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avatar National Monument Proclamations under the Antiquities Act
August 14, 2009 05:03PM
he Antiquities Act of 1906 resulted from concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts-collectively termed "antiquities "-on federal lands in the West. It authorized permits for legitimate archeological investigations and penalties for persons taking or destroying antiquities without permission. And it authorized presidents to proclaim "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" as national monuments-"the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected."

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/hisnps/NPSHistory/monuments.htm
avatar American Antiquities Act of 1906
August 14, 2009 05:04PM
American Antiquities Act of 1906
16 USC 431-433

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.

Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Approved, June 8, 1906
Re: National Monument Proclamations under the Antiquities Act
August 17, 2009 09:10AM
Interesting, thanks for this. Of course, it used to be an easy matter to identify an interesting resource, draw a closed boundary around it, and call it a national monument. Groves of redwood trees (Muir Woods), clusters of erosive sandstone or limestone (Arches and Bryce Canyon) and volcanic pinnacles (Pinnacles, Devil's Tower) were fairly distinctive and easy to separate from the surrounding, more mundane landscapes. However, with the recent decades' increase in interest in preserving complete viewsheds, landscape types, ecosystems, habitats and lengthy wildlife corridors, establishing a NM has become more complex and certainly more politically supercharged (i.e. Grand Staircase-Escalante and Sequoia NMs). For some, these large expanses of land represent "the limits of which...shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." While the geographic boundaries have become much larger and extended the "limits" under the law, other limitations - such as what can be done within the boundaries of the NM units - have been made less restrictive in some cases (same i.e., as above, for activities like logging, ranching and some mineral exploration).

I guess in the end, I agree with Eeek in general. Once a national monument has been established, and its value and purpose and popularity have been tested and proven over time, perhaps NP consideration is appropriate.
avatar Re: National Monument Proclamations under the Antiquities Act
August 17, 2009 01:50PM
Quote
bpnjensen
I guess in the end, I agree with Eeek in general. Once a national monument has been established, and its value and purpose and popularity have been tested and proven over time, perhaps NP consideration is appropriate.

Recall that it was "Death Valley National Monument" for over 60 years. Still - mining continued for some time and I've heard that there's still one operating mine.

And speaking of National Monuments that became National Parks, I still can't figure out why a place as iconic as Arches gets less than a million visitors a year.
Re: National Monument Proclamations under the Antiquities Act
August 18, 2009 09:57AM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
bpnjensen
I guess in the end, I agree with Eeek in general. Once a national monument has been established, and its value and purpose and popularity have been tested and proven over time, perhaps NP consideration is appropriate.

Recall that it was "Death Valley National Monument" for over 60 years. Still - mining continued for some time and I've heard that there's still one operating mine.

And speaking of National Monuments that became National Parks, I still can't figure out why a place as iconic as Arches gets less than a million visitors a year.

...and throw Joshua Tree / Badlands / Black Canyon / Great Sand Dunes / and a host of others into that mix too. The expanded Joshua Tree probably has some mines left within its boundaries.

I agree on Arches, it is easily one of the most amazing and coolest blobs of geology anywhere, but then, I am also thankful - even with relatively few visitors, it can feel pretty mobbed. Don't look for solitude at any of the major spots - Delicate Arch, the Windows or the Devil's Garden. Even out at Double-O Arch, which requires some moderate rock-hopping and minor scrambling as part of the route, you find dozens of people lounging at lunchtime.
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