Statement | Washington, DC | September 18, 2017

National Trust Statement on Recently Disclosed National Monument Recommendations

Statement by Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The following is a statement from Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“Yesterday, the Washington Post disclosed a memo summarizing the recommendations submitted by Secretary Zinke to President Trump regarding changes to several national monument designations. The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for the stewardship of America’s most significant natural and cultural resources. In light of this responsibility, we were disappointed to see recommendations that would reduce the size of many protected monuments and would amend management priorities to allow additional harmful uses. We strongly urge the President to reject any recommendations to reduce the size of these monuments or change their management priorities. The magnitude of the changes recommended by Secretary Zinke would be an unprecedented and direct attack on our public lands and the Antiquities Act itself.

“The Antiquities Act is one of the most critical tools used to protect important parts of our nation’s heritage. Since its first use by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, Democratic and Republican presidents alike have used the Antiquities Act more than 150 times to protect iconic American places such as the Statue of Liberty, Devil’s Tower, the Grand Canyon, and President Lincoln’s Cottage. From our continent’s earliest inhabitants, to the American Revolution, westward expansion, and the Civil Rights Movement, the irreplaceable monuments that have been dedicated through the Antiquities Act tell the full and inclusive story of us as a people.

“Secretary Zinke’s memo is an immediate threat to a number of the nation’s most significant historic and cultural landscapes. Reducing the size of existing monuments would be a disservice to the millions of Americans who visit them each year to directly experience chapters of our history that cannot be adequately conveyed in a book or a classroom. We urge President Trump to reject these recommendations and retain the protections of our national monuments for the benefit of current and future generations.”

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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