In Defense of National Monuments

Monument-ads-Gold-Butte.jpgFrom the Statue of Liberty to the California Coast, National Monuments protect our nation's history, cultural heritage, threatened and endangered wildlife, scenic vistas, and thriving oceans. The Antiquities Act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, gives presidents the authority to safeguard and preserve federal lands and cultural and historical sites as National Monuments for all Americans to enjoy. Sixteen presidents from both parties have used this authority to protect stunning lands and oceans across America including right here in Nevada. Great Basin National Park was originally designated as a National Monument in 1922 and in 2016, Nevada received two more National Monuments - Basin and Range and Gold Butte. However, threats to this bedrock conservation law and to National Monuments across the country continue to grow.

Gold_Butte_Newspaper_Rock_Photo_by_Kurt_Kuznicki_(1).jpgThe new Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump threatens to dismantle
National Monuments across the west including Nevada's Gold Butte. Photo by Kurt Kuznicki.

On April 26, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order attempting to eliminate or shrink national monuments that have been protected by our presidents in recent decades, including Gold Butte here in Nevada. This is an attack on Nevada's heritage and the iconic public lands that are critical to our economy and way of life.

The executive order puts the fate of our parks and monuments in the hands of Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. Now is the time to show Secretary Zinke that Nevadans want our lands to remain protected. With your help, we can demonstrate the overwhelming public support for Gold Butte and all national monuments.

Sixteen presidents from both sides of the aisle have designated national monuments to protect places from the Grand Canyon to Gold Butte to Papahānaumokuākea in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  The Act also helps tell a more complete story of our nation, protecting sites from Stonewall to Birmingham to Cesar Chavez. The American public and Nevadans' overwhelming support our national monuments and no president has ever attempted to revoke a predecessor’s monument designation, until now.

Let Secretary Zinke know that Nevadans want Gold Butte National Monument and all national monuments to be protected for future generations. Take Action now!

How do I comment?

Beginning on May 11, 2017, citizens can comment on the review by mail or through an online platform.

You may mail your written comments to:

Monument Review 


U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20240

Online comments may be submitted via the Protect Gold Butte website or via by searching for “DOI-2017-0002” or by using this direct link.

Note that all comments – including any personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.

Comments related to Bears Ears National Monument must be submitted before May 26, 2017. Comments relating to all other National Monuments must be submitted before July 10,2017.

 Congressional Attacks on the Antiquities Act

CLF_Tyler_Roemer_Hiker_actionalert.jpgNational Monuments like Basin and Range protect public access and
outdoor recreational opportunities across our state. Photo by Tyler Roemer.

Unfortunately, attacks on the Antiquities Act are also occurring right here in Nevada from members of our congressional delegation. Earlier this year, Senator Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei introduced S.22/H.R.243 in Congress. These bills seek to prevent the Antiquities Act from being used in our state and will prevent any future National Monuments from being designated in Nevada. 

Read the full text of the bill here.

Take Action: Sign Our Petition to Urge Senator Heller and Congressman Amodei to Rescind Their Anti-Monument Bill!

Support for National Monuments


Support for protecting special places is strong, and the public overwhelmingly opposes attacks on national parks, public lands and waters.

  • A 2016 poll conducted by Edge Research, a non-partisan research firm, found that 80% of Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents supported permanently protecting special places in the ocean from development. Majority support was sustained across all political affiliations.

  • In the 2017 Conservation in the West poll conducted by Colorado College, 80% of western voters supported keeping protections for existing monuments in place while only 13% of western voters supported removing protections for existing monuments.

  • Other recent polls have shown strong support for national parks and monuments.  A 2014 Hart Research poll conducted for the Center for American Progress showed that 90% of voters supported Presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness.

Efforts to eliminate or shrink national monuments will hurt local economies.

  • National parks, public lands and waters are a critical part of the nation’s economy – especially for rural and Western communities that benefit from the tourism, outdoor recreation and quality of life associated with healthy public lands. 

  • Outdoor recreation alone generated $887 billion and supported 7.6 million jobs last year.  In 2016, National Parks saw a record 331 million visits, contributing almost $35 billion to the U.S. economy.

Regions surrounding national monuments have seen continued growth or improvement in employment and personal income, and rural counties in the West with more federal lands had healthier economies, on average, than their peers with less protected lands.


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