Today marks the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Antiquities Act which gives presidents the ability to designate national monuments. National monument designations preserve historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest. It is the starting point to potential national park status later on. Some of our greatest treasures—places like Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, Olympic, Arches, Acadia, and Death Valley—started out as monuments. Others remain as monuments today: Devil’s Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Giant Sequoia, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Mount St. Helens, to name a few.
Right now, 27 monument designations are under scrutiny by our new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, and things aren’t looking up for them. The list is heart-breaking. In an age of unchecked development, protecting these remarkable places is more important than ever.
The politics surrounding the threat to these monuments can only be thwarted by vigorous and unrelenting support for them from the outdoor-loving public. That’s where you come in. Please join the public comment period that is active through July 10th to help keep the last 20 years of progress in public land preservation from being undone. You can do that by visiting monumentsforall.org, managed by the Center for Western Priorities. They’ll be collecting and recording comments to submit to the regulations.gov site so nothing gets lost in the mix as our monuments face political scrutiny.
In the meantime, I hope you will indulge me in a trip down memory lane.
The pressure on our monuments has me reviewing the times I’ve spent in them. I’m not one to keep count so I had to go back and take roll of those I’ve been to. My list includes: Bandelier (NM), Canyon de Chelly (AZ), Craters of the Moon (ID), Devil’s Tower (WY), Dinosaur (UT/CO), Fort Matanzas (FL), Fort Pulaski (GA), Fort Sumter (SC), Giant Sequoia (CA), Gila Cliff Dwellings (NM), Grand Staircase-Escalante (UT), Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks (NM), Petroglyph (NM), Rio Grande del Norte (NM), Statue of Liberty (NJ/NY), Sunset Crater (AZ), Vermillion Cliffs (AZ), White Sands (NM), and Wupatki (AZ).
Some of these I visited so long ago I don’t have images to share. I do know that my life would be less for not having been to them. I also know I have dozens on my travel wish list. And I haven’t yet had a chance to visit Gold Butte or Basin and Range, two newer monuments that celebrate the rugged history and landscape of my Nevada.
In my efforts to curate my time in our national monuments, here are a handful of memories from our adventures…
Why are these important?
While national monuments serve as stepping stones to park status for some units, those that remain monuments offer opportunities for a rich experience, usually without the crowds that national parks tend to attract. They’re typically a sweet spot of preservation without being over-loved. Help us maintain this process. Tell your legislators to keep the monument designations as they stand. Visit Monuments For All to have your voice heard.
What fellow bloggers have to say about National Monuments
Check out these posts from other #MonumentsForAll bloggers:
- Rio Grande del Norte: A Monument to Protect from Nature Tech Family
- Why You Should Be Championing #MonumentsForAll from Inner Compass Blog
- Pro Tips: Tommy Caldwell Talks Public Lands from Little Grunts
- A Monumental Fight from AZ Day Hiker
- Five Reasons to Love National Monuments from Nightborn Travel
- National Monuments, Public Lands, and Wilderness from Southwest Dude
- In the Heart of the Creek from Mike Off the Map
- A Monumental Day of Blogging from Parks and Points
- A Monumental Day from West Coast Hiker Girl
- Hands Off Our National Monuments from Campfire Guy
- What is a National Monument and Why Should You Care? from Bearfoot Theory
- Speak Out for Our National Monuments Under Review from The Terra Galleria Blog
- Dear Secretary Zinke from Wilderness Within Her
- Public Comment on the National Monument Review from Modern Hiker
- New York National Monuments: What Are They? from Backcountry Petite
- Monuments For All: Help Save Our National Monuments from G Who Travels
- My National Monuments Public Comments and How You Can Submit Your Own from Explore With Heather
- Two Monumental Reasons to Fight: Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears from The Modern Outdoors
- A Monumental Day for Our Nation from A Gray(T) Adventure
- The Antiquities Act: A Monumental Success from Illuminations from the Attic
- Four Lesser-Known National Monuments and Historic Sites in Arizona from Hiking the Trail
- Deeply Personal: Why I Care About National Monuments from Just Get Our More
- Dear Mr. President from The Zesty Traveler
- National Monuments: The Bears Ears Debate and How You Can Get Involved from Sun Kissed Hiker
Adventure on, friends.