Happy birthday to the Antiquities Act!

Today is the anniversary of Antiquities Act of 1906. Not many people know much about this law, even though it probably ranks as the most important conservation tool in our nation’s history. Not only did it, for the first time, protect historical and prehistoric structures and artifacts, but it gave the President the authority to designate national monuments, helping to effectively preserve so much of our natural and cultural heritage. Many of these places have since been incorporated into larger national monuments or national parks, and many of them form the basis for the National Conservation Lands.

Continue reading Happy birthday to the Antiquities Act!

National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was the first piece of legislation to protect ruins and artifacts of Native American cultures. However, the law also gave the President authority to designate national monuments on federal lands—a powerful and important tool for protecting some of our nation’s most important treasures.

This authority has been used more than a hundred times by a total of sixteen Presidents—eight Republican and eight Democratic.

Many of the national monuments established under the Antiquities Act have later been expanded, merged, or converted into national parks (asterisks show ones that have retained their national monument status); several have also been renamed over time. While most of the national monuments are managed by the National Park Service, several are managed by other federal agencies, most notably the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands (I’ve displayed those in italics).

Below is the list of designations. I’ve had the pleasure and good fortune of visiting the majority of these places. You should too.

Theodore Roosevelt (18)

9/24/06 Devils Tower, WY*
12/8/06 El Morro, NM*
12/8/06 Montezuma Castle, AZ*
12/8/06 Petrified Forest, AZ
3/11/07 Chaco Canyon, NM
5/6/07 Cinder Cone, CA
5/6/07 Lassen Peak, CA
11/16/07 Gila Cliff Dwellings, NM*
12/19/07 Tonto, AZ*
1/9/08 Muir Woods, CA*
1/11/08 Grand Canyon, AZ
1/16/08 Pinnacles, CA*
2/7/08 Jewel Cave, SD*
4/16/08 Natural Bridges, UT*
5/11/08 Lewis and Clark Cavern, MT
9/15/08 Tumacacori, AZ
12/7/08 Wheeler, CO
3/2/09 Mount Olympus, WA

William Howard Taft (10)

3/20/09 Navajo, AZ*
7/12/09 Oregon Caves, OR*
7/31/09 Mukuntuweap, UT
9/21/09 Shoshone Cavern, WY
11/1/09 Gran Quivira (now Salinas Pueblo Missions), NM*
3/23/10 Sitka, AK
5/30/10 Rainbow Bridge, UT*
6/23/10 Big Hole Battlefield, MT
5/24/11 Colorado, CO*
7/6/11 Devils Postpile, CA*

Woodrow Wilson (14)

10/14/13 Cabrillo, CA*
1/31/14 Papago Saguaro, AZ
10/4/15 Dinosaur, UT-CO*
11/30/15 Walnut Canyon, AZ*
2/11/16 Bandelier, NM*
7/8/16 Sieur de Monts, ME
8/9/16 Capulin Mountain (now Capulin Volcano), NM*
10/25/16 Old Kasaan, AK
6/29/17 Verendrye, ND
3/18/18 Zion, UT (incorporated Mukuntuweap NM)
8/3/18 Casa Grande (now Casa Grande Ruins), AZ*
9/24/18 Katmai, AK
12/12/19 Scotts Bluff, NE*
12/12/19 Yucca House, CO*

Warren G. Harding (8)

1/24/22 Lehman Caves, NV
10/14/22 Timpanogos Cave, UT*
10/21/22 Fossil Cycad, SD
1/24/23 Aztec Ruin (now Aztec Ruins), NM*
3/2/23 Hovenweep, UT-CO*
3/2/23 Mound City Group, OH
5/31/23 Pipe Spring, AZ*
6/8/23 Bryce Canyon, UT

Calvin Coolidge (13)

10/25/23 Carlsbad Cave, NM
4/18/24 Chiricahua, AZ*
5/2/24 Craters of the Moon, ID*
10/15/24 Castle Pinckney, SC
10/15/24 Fort Marion (now Castillo de San Marcos), FL*
10/15/24 Fort Matanzas, FL*
10/15/24 Fort Pulaski, GA*
10/15/24 Statue of Liberty, NY*
12/9/24 Wupatki, AZ*
2/26/25 Glacier Bay, AK
2/26/25 Meriwether Lewis, TN
9/5/25 Father Millet Cross, NY
11/21/25 Lava Beds, CA*

Herbert Hoover (9)

4/12/29 Arches, UT
5/11/29 Holy Cross, CO
5/26/30 Sunset Crater (now Sunset Crater Volcano), AZ*
3/17/32 Great Sand Dunes, CO*
12/22/32 Grand Canyon, AZ
1/18/33 White Sands, NM*
2/11/33 Death Valley, CA-NV
3/1/33 Saguaro, AZ
3/3/33 Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

Franklin D. Roosevelt (11)

4/26/33 Channel Islands, CA
8/22/33 Cedar Breaks, UT*
1/4/35 Fort Jefferson, FL
8/10/36 Joshua Tree, CA
1/22/37 Zion, UT
4/13/37 Organ Pipe Cactus, AZ*
8/2/37 Capitol Reef, UT
7/16/38 Fort Laramie, WY
5/17/39 Santa Rosa Island, FL
7/24/39 Tuzigoot, AZ*
3/15/43 Jackson Hole, WY

Harry S. Truman (1)

10/25/49 Effigy Mounds, IA*

Dwight D. Eisenhower (2)

7/14/56 Edison Laboratory, NJ
1/18/61 Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, MD-WV

John F. Kennedy (2)

5/11/61 Russell Cave, AL*
12/28/61 Buck Island Reef, VI*

Lyndon B. Johnson (1)

1/20/69 Marble Canyon, AZ

Jimmy Carter (15)

12/1/78 Admiralty Island, AK* (US Forest Service)
12/1/78 Aniakchak, AK*
12/1/78 Becharof, AK
12/1/78 Bering Land Bridge, AK
12/1/78 Cape Krusenstern, AK*
12/1/78 Denali, AK
12/1/78 Gates of the Arctic, AK
12/1/78 Kenai Fjords, AK
12/1/78 Kobuk Valley, AK
12/1/78 Lake Clark, AK
12/1/78 Misty Fjords, AK* (US Forest Service)
12/1/78 Noatak, AK
12/1/78 Wrangell-St. Elias, AK
12/1/78 Yukon-Charley, AK
12/1/78 Yukon Flats, AK

William J. Clinton (21)

9/18/96 Grand Staircase-Escalante, UT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 Grand Canyon-Parashant, AZ* (Jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 Agua Fria, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 California Coastal, CA* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/10/00 Pinnacles, CA (Expansion)
4/15/00 Giant Sequoia, CA (Expansion—-US Forest Service)
6/09/00 Hanford Reach, WA (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
6/09/00 Ironwood Forest, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
6/09/00 Canyons of the Ancients, CO* (Bureau of Land Management)
6/09/00 Cascade-Siskiyou, OR* (Bureau of Land Management)
7/07/00 President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home (Armed Forces Retirement Home)
11/9/00 Craters of the Moon, ID* (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)
11/9/00 Vermilion Cliffs, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Carrizo Plain, CA* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Minidoka Internment, ID
1/17/01 Pompeys Pillar, MT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Sonoran Desert, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Upper Missouri River Breaks, MT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Virgin Islands Coral Reef, VI*
1/20/01 Governors Island, NY*

George W. Bush (3)

2/27/06 African Burial Ground, NY*
6/15/06 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine (renamed Papahanaumokuakea Hawaii Islands Marine), HI
12/05/08 World War II Valor in the Pacific (incorporated USS Arizona Memorial), HI*

Barack Obama (32)

11/01/11 Fort Monroe, VA*
4/20/12 Fort Ord, CA (Bureau of Land Management)
9/21/12 Chimney Rock, CO (US Forest Service)*
10/08/12 César E. Chávez, CA*
3/25/13 Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers, OH*
3/25/13 First State, DE*
3/25/13 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, MD*
3/25/13 Río Grande del Norte, NM (Bureau of Land Management)*
3/25/13 San Juan Islands, WA (Bureau of Land Management)*
10/28/13 Military Working Dog Teams, TX (Department of Defense)
5/21/14 Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, NM (Bureau of Land Management)*
10/10/15 San Gabriel Mountains, CA (US Forest Service)*
12/19/14 Tule Springs Fossil Beds, NV*
2/19/15 Browns Canyon, CO (Bureau of Land Management)*
2/19/15 Honouliuli, HI*
2/19/15 Pullman, IL*
7/10/15 Basin and Range, NV (Bureau of Land Management)*
7/10/15 Berryessa Snow Mountain, CA (US Forest Service/BLM)*
7/10/15 Waco Mammoth, TX*
2/12/16 Mojave Trails, CA (Bureau of Land Management)*
2/12/16 Sand to Snow, CA (US Forest Service, BLM)*
2/12/16 Castle Mountains, CA*
4/12/16 Belmont-Paul Womens Equality, DC*
6/24/16 Stonewall, NY*
9/15/16 Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument* (Atlantic Ocean)
12/28/16 Bears Ears, UT (Bureau of Land Management)*
12/28/16 Gold Butte, NV (Bureau of Land Management)*
1/12/16 Freedom Riders, AL*
1/12/16 Montgomery Civil Rights, AL*
1/12/16 Reconstruction Era, SC*
1/12/16 California Coastal, CA (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)
1/12/16 Cascade-Siskiyou, OR (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)

Some additional notes on these designations:

  • Congress has transferred 10 national monuments (Lewis and Clark Cavern, Wheeler, Shoshone Cavern, Papago Saguaro, Old Kasaan, Verendrye, Fossil Cycad, Castle Pinckney, Father Millet Cross, Holy Cross) to other federal, state, or local jurisdictions.
  • Congress has limited Antiquities Act powers in two states: Wyoming and Alaska.
  • The largest designation has been Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument at 140,000 square miles; the smallest was Father Millet Cross National Monument at 0.0074 acres.

The Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument are hiring

If you haven’t seen it already, the Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument are hiring an “Administrator” staff position. The application deadline is April 11, 2011. Please see the job description below, including the person to submit your information to.

Continue reading The Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument are hiring

Caves I’ve visited

One of the natural features I often enjoy visiting on my travels are caves. I’m not a caver, but I seem to find myself in many places that have caves and cave tours, and it’s rare for me to pass up an opportunity to explore yet another one. In fact, I’ve been to more than 20 of them—including most of the public caves in the National Park System. In no particular order, here’s the list:

  • Bear Gulch Cave, Pinnacles National Monument (California)
  • Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park (California)
  • Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)
  • Russell Cave National Monument (Alabama)
  • Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)
  • Peppersauce Cave (Arizona)
  • Fort Stanton Cave, Ft Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (New Mexico)
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument (Utah)
  • Jewel Cave National Monument (South Dakota)
  • Lehman Cave, Great Basin National Park (Nevada)
  • Kartchner Caverns State Park (Arizona)
  • Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark (County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland)
  • Sea Lion Caves (Oregon)
  • Grand Canyon Caverns (Arizona)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
  • Colossal Cave (Arizona)
  • Mitchell Cavern, Providence Mountains State Rec Area (California)
  • Lava tubes, Lava Beds National Monument (California)
  • Oregon Caves National Monument (Oregon)
  • Lava tube near Flagstaff (Arizona)
  • Lava tubes, El Malpais National Monument (New Mexico)
  • Lava tubes, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (Idaho)
  • Lava tube, Mojave National Preserve (California)
  • Thurston Lava Tube, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

The links above are to photos I’ve taken at each place—though mind you, it’s not always easy to take good snapshots inside a cave. I have several more albums to post, and I’ll update the links once I get those photos up.

My favorite caves include Carlsbad Caverns (there really isn’t one that can compare to it), Kartchner Caverns (Arizona’s best state park), and the Sea Lion Caves (great childhood memory and my only sea cave). I enjoy the occasional lava river tube, but I’ve seen enough of them now that each new one is less and less exciting. Of all of them, I think I was most disappointed with the world’s longest: Mammoth Cave. I attribute that to high expectations and the fact that we took a 4-mile, 4.5 hour tour where we only saw great formations in the last 200 yards or so. Several of these caves are less than spectacular, but still make for a fun stop if you’re driving by.

I have the distinct pleasure of working with the folks at the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project on the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (an area of the National Conservation Lands) and there’s some great science happening there.

Note that several of  these parks—particularly the ones with lava tube formations—have several separate caves that I’ve wandered through, but I’m only counting them as one for this list.

What’s your favorite cave? Which one should be on my list?

Urgent Call to Action: Vote in D.C. today to defund our National Conservation Lands

Dear Friends,

I am contacting you today with an urgent request. Please take the next five minutes to contact your Congressperson today to urge her/him to vote against Continuing Resolution Amendments No. 92, 203 and 515. Each of these amendments would compromise our National Conservation Lands (formally known as the National Landscape Conservation System) by eliminating funds to properly manage the lands and by eliminating an important conservation tool to expand the National Conservation Lands. The vote is scheduled to take place at 4:00 p.m. EST today. You can reach the US House of Representatives switchboard operator at 202-224-3121. You can also find the number for your individual representatives at http://clerk.house.gov.

Amendment 515 was introduced late Tuesday evening by Rob Bishop (R-UT). This amendment would completely eliminate funding for the National Conservation Lands. This means NO funding for more than 27 million acres of the BLM’s most prized lands. Pat Williams from the Friends of Red Rock Canyon explained to the media yesterday, if this amendment passes, “Red Rock Canyon would close to the public.” This means no rangers, no sign & trail maintenance, no hunting and fishing permits, etc.

When introducing his amendment, Rep. Bishop said, “I have yet to see a compelling example of how our nation benefits from adding another expensive layer of bureaucracy to the management of our public lands. Millions of dollars are wasted each year at the NLCS to fund a superfluous and unnecessary bureaucracy.

Amendments 92 and 203 would effectively eliminate one of our nation’s greatest conservation tools – the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act is deeply rooted in American history. Since it was first used by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been utilized (most recently by President George W. Bush) to protect our nation’s most recognizable public treasures from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty. The President’s authority to create new National Monuments on public land already owned and used by the American people should not be curtailed or compromised.

Thank you for your ongoing support and prompt response to this request.

Sincerely,

Danielle

Danielle C. Sandstedt
Conservation Lands Foundation, Development Director
W 970-247-0807 Ext. 14
www.ConservationLands.org

To learn more about the actions taken by the Conservation Lands Foundation to mobilize our network of local partners to take action, please read on:

CLF drafted and circulated a sign-on letter against all three amendments. In less than 24 hours, 30 groups from across the nation signed on to the letter. This letter was distributed to the entire House of Representatives on Wednesday morning. Read the Sign On Letter.

CLF held a call with the press on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. EDT. We briefed and assembled spokespeople to discuss how Amendment No. 515 would be devastating to their communities and the National Monuments/National Conservation Areas they work to protect. We invited reporters from across the nation to join the call. Read our Press Advisory. We are continuing to see media outlets pick up this story. Groups Blast Bishop Over ‘Gutting’ Landscape Conservation

National Conservation Lands video on Assignment: Earth

Here’s a great little video describing America’s National Conservation Lands, the system of special places I work to protect.

To support the great people working hard to protect America’s natural and cultural heritage, please check out the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Celebrate 10 years of Ironwood Forest National Monument this Saturday

This Saturday, I’m headed down towards Tucson for what is sure to be a great event. The Friends of Ironwood Forest are hosting a celebration marking the 10-year anniversary of Ironwood Forest National Monument and the National Conservation Lands (also known by its more cumbersome name, the National Landscape Conservation System).

There’s still time to get in on the event—you can even register online.

Ironwood Forest National Monument is one of those places that you may not have been to—or even heard of, for that matter—but which protects important aspects of what makes Arizona great, from the classic Sonoran Desert saguaro forests to rugged desert mountain views to prehistoric ruins and historic artifacts.

So come join us on Saturday. You’ll learn more about makes Ironwood Forest National Monument worthy of protection and you’ll hear about some inspiring work the local Friends of Ironwood Forest are doing.

Here’s the event press release:

Local Volunteers to Mark 10th Anniversary of Ironwood Forest

Congressman Grijalva and Noted Author to Take Part in Celebration

Wednesday, June 2, Tucson, AZ — Friends of Ironwood Forest will host the official 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Ironwood Forest National Monument on Saturday, June 5th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, with special guests Congressman Raul Grijalva and noted Sonoran Desert author Gary Nabhan.

The Monument is part of the National Landscape Conservation System, a collection of some of the country’s most scenic, historic, natural and cultural sites known as the National Conservation Lands.  Friends of Ironwood Forest, a local volunteer-based, non-profit group, provides critical support to protect and promote the Monument while working to educate the public about its extraordinary natural treasures.

Ironwood Forest, located 25 miles northwest of Tucson in southern Arizona, was created in 2000 to protect the amazing cultural and biological resources found in the area.  The Monument contains more than 129,000 acres of Sonoran Desert habitat and includes the Silver Bell, Sawtooth and Waterman Mountain Ranges.  Named for the unique desert Ironwood tree, the site has an astounding diversity of plant and animal life.

Ironwood Forest NM is an example of the many places within the National Conservation Lands that are home to rare plants and animals and Native American sites.  These lands offer a national connection to the last places where one can experience the history and beauty of the American West.

Ironwood’s 10th anniversary celebration will be held at the Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, 4949 W. Heritage Club Blvd., Marana, AZ 85658.  For more information on Friends of Ironwood Forest and the anniversary event, visit www.ironwoodforest.org.