Forum Connect

Antiquities Act for the next century

  • 1.  Antiquities Act for the next century

    Posted 06-04-2019 08:08
    This week marks the 113th anniversary of the Antiquities Act. Written to protect archaeological and historic sites on public lands, it also gives the power to the president to designate National Monuments. One of my favorites places on the plant, Joshua Tree National Park in southern California, was designated a National Monument in 1936 and became a National Park in 1994, just a year before my first visit there. Here's one of my favorite pics (from a visit in 2015) that shows the impressive landscape and Joshua Trees framing the ruins of Ryan Ranch. I'm looking forward to another visit later this summer.

    Joshua Trees frame the ruins of Ryan Ranch.

    There have been several attacks on the Antiquities Act in recent years as politicians struggle to find common ground between preserving our nation's cultural resources and defining what it means to have reasonable and appropriate access to public lands. You can do a search in the Forum archives to see how the National Trust has stepped up to voice concerns about those attacks. A group of senators recently introduced legislation to protect the basic tenets of the Act from further attacks. It has several good points, but made me wonder: if we were to write the Antiquities Act from scratch today, with a mind toward preserving our nation's shared heritage on public lands, what would the members of Forum Connect want to see in the text of that act? Would it include more than place-based resources? Would it specifically call out the need to partner with tribes, states, and local organizations to accomplish preservation and public access? Might it, like the rec have more guidance about the designation process or modifications to existing monuments? Could it include specific roles for federal agencies? I'm curious to hear how all of you might reinvent this critical preservation tool if given an opportunity.


    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN

  • 2.  RE: Antiquities Act for the next century

    Posted 07-17-2019 15:20
    I wanted to reply to this thread bc I thought you might be interested in this session that was recorded at our Preservation Law Conference last month.
    SO very interesting and Mark is a great speaker.
    Attacks on the Attiquities' Act by Professor Mark Squillace from the University of Colorado Law School.

    Colleen Danz
    Forum Marketing Manager
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC