Recreation Advocate

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Comments needed on Antiquities Act review

From John Stewart, Cal4Wheel Natural Resources Consultant

The Department of Interior is taking public comments concerning its review of the Antiquities Act of 1906 and National Monuments created under this Act. BlueRibbon Coalition has made it very easy to submit comments. See: http://bit.ly/MoreInfo051717a

A review of National Monuments and the process to create them is long overdue. The Trump Administration has made it a reality. We must take advantage of the opportunity to affect the changes we want. Everyone who has an issue with National Monuments needs to weigh in on this. This action requires no money and no special expertise - just a couple of minutes of your time.

If this process comes back with nothing but opposition from environmental and preservationist interests, then we basically lose. This is put up or shut up time. Go out there and get everyone that you know to comment. 

The listed BRC website provides a link to the Federal Register page where comments can be submitted. Yes, there are a few steps. But, we (the OHV community) are committed to providing comments from people that would be directly affected.

Tell how the continued creation of monuments affects your recreation, your family, your history…

This effort is about retaining access to public lands. Tell Secretary of Interior Zenke your beliefs and feelings.

Below are some sample talking points to use:

— The Antiquities Act of 1906 was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by then President Theodore Roosevelt. The law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific features. In recent years, proclamations signed by the past four Presidential administrations have signed away public access to lands far exceeding the original intent of "... the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.” using the smallest area practicable.

— The Antiquities Act does not reference creation of “wilderness areas”. And yet, proclamation after proclamation designates that lands will become part of the National Wilderness System inventory.

— Proclamations have restricted historic activities such as hunting and fishing either directly or through onerous restrictions on access to hunting and fishing spots. State wildlife agencies that have management responsibility are hampered by onerous regulations imposed by monument plans.

— The recent Mojave Trail NM proclamation signed by President Obama has an adverse impact on traditional public access to southern California deserts. That proclamation provides for no protections for "... of objects of historic and scientific interest.” It does re-write history and creates a “wilderness area” which has historically served off-road recreation and rockhound use.

— Mojave Trails NM, Sand to Snow NM and Castle Peaks NM were created in opposition to local and user interest groups. They were within proposed legislation under review by Congress and subsequently removed for monument creation against wishes of collaborators supporting the legislative resolution.

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