For more than a century, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has been an invaluable tool for protecting our shared heritage as a nation. From the Statute of Liberty to the Grand Canyon, the Antiquities Act has helped preserve places of natural, historical, and cultural significance. Except for the Organic Act of 1916, no law has had more influence over the development of the modern National Park System.
Yet, many in Congress repeatedly try to thwart the act. In the first few months of the current Congress, members have introduced multiple bills aimed at undermining or eliminating the act’s ability to preserve federally owned land. And President Trump recently ordered the Department of the Interior to review the monument designations from the last 20 years and recommend potential decreases in protection.
One of the most fundamental missions of the National Park Service is to protect landscapes and sites that together tell America’s story. Members of Congress must recognize the important role that the Antiquities Act and other conservation tools play in the protection of our shared heritage, and defend it against those who wish to dismantle this vital conservation and preservation tool.