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Ed Moss
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National Monuments - Thank President Biden

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments are restored!
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Marc Toso

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What's in a name?

National parks, national monuments, national forests, national preserves — confused?

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There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to national monument designations. Who designates them? How are they different from national parks? What protections do monument designations afford, and what restrictions do they impose?

Here’s a basic breakdown of key differences between national parks and national monuments:

NM - parks vs. monuments

National Parks
  • Generally large, natural places, protected for their scenic, inspirational, educational, and recreational values
  • Designated only by Congress
  • Managed by the National Park Service
  • Mining and drilling are generally not allowed
National Monuments
  • Protect landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic, cultural, or scientific interest 
  • Usually designated by presidential proclamation
  • Managed by a variety of agencies
  • Accommodate land uses such as livestock grazing, fishing, hunting, recreation, and more.

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100+ years of national monuments

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law. This law makes the destruction of archaeological sites on federal lands and the removal of artifacts from them punishable offenses. It also gives sitting presidents the authority to protect objects of historic or scientific interest by declaring them national monuments. National monuments are composed solely of federal lands. Monument designations do not take lands away from states or private individuals.

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Nonpartisan support

In the 100+ years of the Antiquities Act, nearly every president — Republican and Democrat — has used the Antiquities Act to create more than 125 national monuments protecting cliff dwellings, volcanoes, fossils, coral reefs, and more. Many national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Arches, and Petrified Forest started as national monuments before being elevated to park status. 

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Ed Moss

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Get to know your monuments

National monuments are yours to play in, pray in, and share in. They protect some of our country’s most amazing landscapes and cultural resources and are protected for the benefit of all. Start exploring ›

National Monuments Blog

10/8/21

Today, President Biden signed proclamations restoring Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

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09/16/21

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has it all, from dinosaur fossils to twisting slot canyons and grand adventures.

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08/24/21

Five unique and significant places in Bears Ears that are deserving of protection.

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