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home : opinion : letters May 22, 2015

6/16/2013 5:59:00 AM
Letter: Celebrate preservation

One hundred and seven years ago this week, one of our country's most important conservation tools - the Antiquities Act - was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress. Although you may not have heard of the Antiquities Act, you undoubtedly know areas originally protected as national monuments under its authority, such as our own Grand Canyon. All such places represent irreplaceable parts of our history and the natural beauty of our country.

Protecting our public lands has long-reaching economic benefits, enhancing our quality of life and preserving opportunities to learn about our history. Protecting our treasured places will ensure that our children and grandchildren will have undisturbed ecosystems to learn from and enjoy, places where the air is clean, where you can experience quiet solitude and be amongst unique plants and animals in their native habitat. These protected public lands are part of our heritage as American citizens, and as such deserve the positive protection afforded by the use of the Antiquities Act.

The Antiquities Act was intended to give the president the ability to move with urgency to rise above the politics of the day in order to better protect publicly owned lands and waters for future generations. Sixteen presidents of both parties, from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush, have used the Antiquities Act. President Obama used this authority this year to respond to calls from local communities to designate five new national monuments. Two of these new monuments join the ranks of protected places within the BLM's National Conservation Lands. In Arizona, the National Conservation Lands include five national monuments: Agua Fria, Grand Canyon-Parashant, Ironwood Forest, Sonoran Desert and Vermilion Cliffs.

We are fortunate in Arizona to have large tracts of protected public lands, something much of the United States does not have the advantage of. So while the anniversary of the Antiquities Act may pass without much celebration, won't you join me in celebrating our protected public lands, and take a walk on the wild side - it's right outside your door!

Sharon Baur

Friends of Joshua Tree Forest


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013
Article comment by: nnp .....

from my own research, it appears that the Antiquities Act was designed to prevent the public from accessing evidence of much-earlier civilisations which completely discredited conventional views of this country's history. This occurred in tandem with widespread reports of the Smithsonian Institution simultaneously scooping up such evidence - gathered at first without protection from this Act, but eventually under its protection as the curiousity and outrage of concerned citizens manifested itself - and hauling it in barges out to the North Atlantic, where it was unceremoniously disappeared from the annals of history. (It's harder for them to disappear their crimes now, with Internet and some surviving activists around. That is why history's cruelest and most presumptive surveillance/gangster police state has been unleashed upon us all)

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