A NATIONAL MONUMENT in the UNITED STATES is a protected area that is
similar to a
United States National Park , but can be created from any
land owned or controlled by the federal government by proclamation
of the President of the
United States .
National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies:
National Park Service ,
United States Forest Service , United
States Fish and Wildlife Service , or the
Bureau of Land Management .
Historically, some national monuments were managed by the War
National monuments can be so designated through the power of the
Antiquities Act of 1906. President
Theodore Roosevelt used the act to
Devils Tower in
Wyoming as the first U.S. National Monument.
* 1 History
* 2 List of National Monuments
* 3 See also
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Frank "Boss" Pinkley, Supt. of the Southwestern National
Antiquities Act of 1906 resulted from concerns about protecting
mostly prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts (collectively
termed "antiquities") on federal lands in the American West. The Act
authorized permits for legitimate archaeological investigations and
penalties for taking or destroying antiquities without permission.
Additionally, it authorized the President to proclaim "historic
landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of
historic or scientific interest" on federal lands as national
monuments, "the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the
smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the
objects to be protected."
The reference in the act to "objects of...scientific interest"
Theodore Roosevelt to make a natural geological
Devils Tower in
Wyoming , the first national monument three
months later. Among the next three monuments he proclaimed in 1906
was Petrified Forest in
Arizona , another natural feature.
In 1908, Roosevelt used the act to proclaim more than 800,000 acres
(3,200 km2) of the
Grand Canyon as a national monument.
In 1918, President
Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Katmai National Monument
Alaska , comprising more than 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2). Katmai
was later enlarged to nearly 2,800,000 acres (11,000 km2) by
Antiquities Act proclamations and for many years was the
largest national park system unit. Petrified Forest,
Grand Canyon ,
and Katmai were among the many national monuments later converted to
national parks by Congress.
In response to Roosevelt's declaration of the
Grand Canyon monument,
a putative mining claimant sued in federal court, claiming that
Roosevelt had overstepped the
Antiquities Act authority by protecting
an entire canyon. In 1920, the
United States Supreme Court ruled
unanimously that the
Grand Canyon was indeed "an object of historic or
scientific interest" and could be protected by proclamation, setting a
precedent for the use of the
Antiquities Act to preserve large areas.
Federal courts have since rejected every challenge to the President's
Antiquities Act preservation authority, ruling that the law
gives the president exclusive discretion over the determination of the
size and nature of the objects protected.
Substantial opposition did not materialize until 1943, when President
Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed
Jackson Hole National Monument in
Wyoming. He did this to accept a donation of lands acquired by John D.
Rockefeller, Jr. , for addition to
Grand Teton National Park after
Congress had declined to authorize this park expansion. Roosevelt's
proclamation unleashed a storm of criticism about use of the
Antiquities Act to circumvent Congress. A bill abolishing Jackson Hole
National Monument passed Congress but was vetoed by Roosevelt, and
Congressional and court challenges to the proclamation authority were
mounted. In 1950, Congress finally incorporated most of the monument
into Grand Teton National Park, but the act doing so barred further
use of the proclamation authority in
Wyoming except for areas of 5,000
acres or less.
The most substantial use of the proclamation authority came in 1978,
Jimmy Carter proclaimed 15 new national monuments in
Alaska after Congress had adjourned without passing a major Alaska
lands bill strongly opposed in that state. Congress passed a revised
version of the bill in 1980 incorporating most of these national
monuments into national parks and preserves, but the act also
curtailed further use of the proclamation authority in Alaska.
The proclamation authority was not used again anywhere until 1996,
Bill Clinton proclaimed the Grand Staircase-Escalante
National Monument in
Utah . This action was widely unpopular in Utah,
and bills were introduced to further restrict the president's
authority. , none of which have been enacted. Most of the 16 national
monuments created by President Clinton are managed not by the National
Park Service, but by the
Bureau of Land Management as part of the
National Landscape Conservation System .
Presidents have used the Antiquities Act's proclamation authority not
only to create new national monuments but to enlarge existing ones.
For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt significantly enlarged Dinosaur
National Monument in 1938.
Lyndon B. Johnson added
Ellis Island to
Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and
Jimmy Carter made
major additions to Glacier Bay and Katmai National Monuments in 1978.
On June 24, 2016, President
Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn
and surrounding areas in Greenwich Village, New York as the Stonewall
National Monument , the first National Monument commemorating the
struggle for LGBT rights in the