Press Statement – Rep. Young Attacks Century-old Tradition of Protecting America’s Heritage

The Conservation Lands Foundation issued the following statement from Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director, Conservation Lands Foundation in response to Rep. Don Young’s (R-AK) legislation (H.R. 330) which would obstruct communities’ efforts to safeguard important historical, cultural, and natural sites by undermining the Antiquities Act.

“For more than a century, presidents from both parties have used the Antiquities Act to protect important cultural, historic and natural sites found on our nation’s public lands. Nearly half of our National Parks – including the Grand Canyon, Zion and Acadia – were originally protected using the Antiquities Act.

Attacks on the Antiquities Act undermine our nation’s rich conservation heritage and completely fly in the face of public opinion. Time and time again, the American people have made it clear that they support efforts to protect public lands that inspire us, connect us to our history, and provide us with clean water and places to enjoy the outdoors. This bill is a misguided effort to dismantle our nation’s most important land conservation tool.

The Antiquities Act continues to be an important tool to honor our country’s diverse national mosaic and proud heritage. This can be seen in the recent national monument designations recognizing Harriet Tubman, Cesar Chavez, and the soldiers who served at Fort Ord.

The protection of public lands via the Antiquities Act supports local economies through tourism, and national monuments protect fish and wildlife habitat, ensuring that land continues to be available for hunting and fishing and other outdoor recreation.

Together with communities across the country, we will work hard to defend the Antiquities Act, and encourage President Obama to continue use it to safeguard our nation’s most important     historic, cultural and natural areas.

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