The Value of the Antiquities Act’s — Then and Now

It was promoted and passed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.  The Antiquities Act allowed the president to set aside major tracts of land, protecting them from development until Congress could make them national parks or some other set-aside.


It was also used by presidents Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Bush.  The National Park Service has responsibility for administering most of the national monuments, but some are managed by other federal agencies.  In any case, invaluable national treasures have been protected.


Sometimes Congress gets huffy and objects, but usually the lands ultimately get protected.  Recently,however, some members of Congress have attempted to create controversy with an anonymous leak of an “Internal Draft — NOT FOR RELEASE” memo within the Department of Interior.


The leaked memo contained a list of 14 natural resources in nine states that might be worthy of being designated as national monuments under the Antiquities Act. The memo clearly stated, “further evaluations should be completed prior to any final decision, including an assessment of public and Congressional support.” –

To learn what you can do to fight this movement, go to:


Natural resource protection adds value to our country.


To learn more about TR’s initiation of and use of the Antiquities Act, read Lodge Spirit, chapter 9, Theodore Roosevelt.

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