Secretary Zinke proposes ‘boundary changes’ to specific monuments,
acknowledges broad public support for monuments system, Antiquities Act
[Above, a hunter and their dog hunt the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, credit: mypubliclands]
MISSOULA, Mont. – An Interior Department report recommending ambiguous “boundary changes” to national monuments prized by sportsmen and women drew swift criticism from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers today.
BHA warned that, if implemented, the recommendations by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke could negatively impact key fish and wildlife habitat, reduce outdoor opportunities important to sportsmen and critical to local economies, and undermine a bedrock conservation law, the Antiquities Act, that has enabled the long-term protection of millions of acres.
“Secretary Zinke is proposing to dismantle a conservation legacy pioneered by Theodore Roosevelt that has permanently conserved some of our nation’s most valuable public lands and waters,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “We’re pleased that the administration has acknowledged the overwhelming public support for our national monuments and the Antiquities Act, and we ask him today: ‘What would Theodore Roosevelt do?’”
Zinke is an admirer of the nation’s 26th president and has called himself a Roosevelt conservationist. While details of the changes to national monuments being proposed by the administration remain unclear, the secretary indicated that he would not seek to have any monuments rescinded outright. Tawney dismissed this detail as meaningless.
“Why should we thank the administration for its report, which would fundamentally weaken one of our bedrock conservation laws?” asked Tawney rhetorically. “Doing so would be akin to thanking a bully for not beating you up.
“Our national monuments have stood the test of time, and the present review could trigger a game of political football, leaving them in limbo,” he concluded. “American sportsmen and women have made our position clear: An attack on one monument is an attack on them all.”
Today’s report from the Interior Department culminates a several month long review during which millions of public comments reiterated citizens’ strong support for national monuments. BHA members and supporters rallied behind America’s monuments system, highlighting the importance of the Antiquities Act in conserving the places and traditional uses valued by sportsmen and women.
Earlier this month, BHA launched an advertising campaign criticizing the Interior Department’s national monuments review and the risks it poses to prime hunting and fishing on public lands and waters. Montana BHA members are featured in the spots, which also emphasize the potential of the national monuments review to threaten jobs and economic security.
Read National Monuments: A Sportsmen’s Perspective for sportsmen’s tenets regarding use of the Antiquities Act and case studies of national monuments important to hunting and fishing.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.