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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Enough is Enough

We are saddened to read where you have submitted a letter to President Obama to create not two, but three, monuments in the southern California desert region via presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act.

We are further saddened to see that we have been included in a claim of broad support for the three proposed monuments.  We believe this not to be the case.  During discussions, the focus was on TWO proposed monuments.  The third monument was not put forth requesting comment nor support.  We were not involved in the discussions for the third monument and have not adopted a position on the proposal.  Your letter to President Obama indicates otherwise.

As a result, the public is formally withdrawing its support for your southern California desert monument proposal finding that your actions breach the assurances you provided and the additional monument was not within the scope of the proposal that formed the discussion basis.

We are now locked in a game of chicken where the public is poised to lose access to lands that will soon be locked away forever.  The preservation mindset of the environmental community knows nothing but wilderness -- their "holy grail".  Wilderness is a status granted by act of Congress.  Due to a highly partisan and dis-functional Congress, the American public is set to have lands locked away in perpetuity by the stroke of a pen wielded by a highly partisan and liberal president that is pandering to a minority of the citizens of the United States of America.

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.

The Antiquities Act resulted from concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts – collectively termed "antiquities" – on federal lands in the West.  The Act was intended to allow the President to set aside certain valuable public natural areas as park and conservation land. The 1906 act stated that it was intended for: "... the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest."

The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas in states throughout the nation. It created  a way for Congress and Americans to designate "wilderness areas," which represent the nation's highest form of land protection. No roads, vehicles or permanent structures are allowed in designated wilderness. A wilderness designation also prohibits activities like logging or mining.

Therein lies the growing problem.  Whether by legislation or or administrative action, the public continues to lose access to public lands.  With the environmental movement’s failure to advance wilderness legislation through a deeply divided Congress, they are turning to the President to use the Antiquities Act to accomplish their goals, incremental steps to exclude the public from public lands.

It is time for the Antiquities Act of 1906 to be repealed.  It is time for the Wilderness Act of 1964 to be repealed.  Both have outlived their usefulness.  We have enough monuments.  We have enough wilderness. Enough is enough.

John Stewart
Concerned Citizen of the United States of America

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