Antiquities Act in the News

My plan today was to post stories written in papers around the country marking the 100 year anniversary of the Antiquities Act yesterday. To my surprise, I could not find that many. I suppose the Act isn't really known outside of conservation circles, and only becomes known to a wide audience when it is used in an manner considered controversial. So the fact that there were not many articles perhaps isn't surprising. However, the articles I did find in my search were enlightening. Here they are:

Antiquities Act turns 100
by Whitney Royster
JACKSON, WY -- Today is the 100th anniversary of a law that allowed for designation of Devils Tower as a national monument and led the way for the creation of Grand Teton National Park. But it's a birthday Wyoming won't celebrate. Wyoming is the only state in the country not covered by the so-called Antiquities Act, established on June 8, 1906. It's an ironic twist in the state where the act was first used -- by President Theodore Roosevelt in the designation of Devils Tower National Monument in 1906. ... [more]

Editorial: Protecting our resources
Las Vegas Sun
In its 100-year history the Antiquities Act also has withstood some strong opposition. In 2003 Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson and 18 other lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., sought an amendment that would have greatly restricted the authority of presidents to establish monuments larger than 50,000 acres. Thankfully, this measure failed to survive. ... [more]

National Trust President Richard Moe Made Keynote Address Regarding Threats to National Monuments
U.S. Newswire
The speech celebrated the accomplishments of the Act, which he calls "the most significant piece of conservation legislation in the history of the United States." In his remarks, Moe highlighted some of the current challenges such as funding and staffing shortages which could lead to the destruction of irreplaceable treasures on America's public lands, including several national monuments that were created under the Antiquities Act. ... [more]

Full Text of Richard Moe's Keynote
It is the first systemic act of its kind: While earlier legislation had protected individual places such as Yellowstone, the Antiquities Act applies across the entire range of federal lands ' and what's more, it applies to natural, cultural and historic sites alike. It recognizes that when an important piece of our heritage is threatened, the government must be able to act quickly and decisively to save it ' and that's exactly how presidents have used it. Some short-sighted people have complained about this so-called 'misuse' of presidential power ' but no one complains about the preservation of Ellis Island or the C & O Canal or the Grand Canyon, and 50 years from now, no one will complain about the preservation of Wrangell-St. Elias or the African Burial Ground, either. ... [more]

How did you celebrate the anniversary yesterday? I wore my favorite t-shirt from Devils Tower (the first monument designated under the Act in 1906). When I explained the significance of the shirt to a friend, he called me a "geek". Such is life.