Friday, March 29, 2013

President Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

Rio Grade del Norte National Monument, NM
Photo Courtesy of BLM New Mexico

On March 25, President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to create five new national monuments. This action permanently preserves 270,000 acres from development. The announcement was greeted with praise from environmental groups who have been criticizing the Obama Administration's public land record.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was created through the efforts of educators and archeologists to protect sensitive historic areas from looters (NPS: Antiquities Act). The Act allows the President to designate federal lands containing historic, scientific, or scenic significance. Designated areas are protected from harmful development activities like mining. The first national monument, Devil’s Tower National Monument, was established by President Theodore Roosevelt just three months after the Antiquities Act was passed.

The new national monuments celebrate western landscapes, African-American history and create the first National Park Service unit in Delaware. Here is the complete list:
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico
First State National Monument, Delaware
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, Maryland
San Juan Islands National Monument, Washington

“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” said President Obama. “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant 

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