Our national monuments and public lands and waters help define who we are as a nation by telling the story of our shared historical, cultural, and natural heritage.
Since President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, 17 Presidents – 9 Republicans and 8 Democrats – have used the authority granted by the act to safeguard public lands, oceans, and historic sites in order to share America’s story with future generations. These national monument designations are broadly supported from coast to coast and provide a myriad of benefits to local communities, including economic boosts from tourism, places to enjoy the outdoors, clean air and water, protection for ecologically sensitive areas, and windows into our country’s history.
Sending a signal that protections for our shared history, culture, and natural treasures are temporary would set a terrible precedent. National monuments have been shown to be tremendous drivers of the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy and businesses rely on the permanency of these protections when making decisions about investing in these communities.
From Maine’s magnificent Katahdin Woods and Waters to the colorful canyons of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante to the western history held in New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, these landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes have value which far exceeds their physical features; they manifest the core democratic ideals of freedom, justice, and equality. They are our legacy to our children and our children’s children, and a gift that belongs to all Americans.