Happy 112th Anniversary to the Antiquities Act!
By Candice Cravins, Girls Who Hike Alabama Ambassador
June 8, 2018 marks the 112th anniversary of the passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906, a very important law enacted to protect national landmarks. Signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act protects national monuments and sites on public lands we have all grown to love. These places including Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, California’s Muir Woods and Devils Postpile National Monuments, Washington state’s Olympic National Park, Arches National Park in Utah, and most recently, Colorado’s Browns Canyon National Monument. Chances are, you have visited a park or landmark that’s been protected by this important act!
The Antiquities Act has been used more than 100 times since its passage, and the law gives the President of the United States the authority to create natural monuments on public lands to protect important cultural, natural, and scientific features. The Act is used to safeguard these features for all Americans to enjoy.
The Act originally grew out of a movement to preserve vanishing archaeological resources, mostly prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts, many of which had been looted and vandalized. As a professional archaeologist and steward of our public lands, I appreciate that this law helped to define appropriate standards for proper archaeological research, enforced fines for disturbance and destruction of historic or prehistoric sites, and paved the way for additional legislation to help protect our country’s natural and cultural resources.
Just how many places are protected under the Antiquities Act? Click here to see the full list!