Photo by Tony Bynum
What's at Stake
Our history, our culture, and our heritage are under attack by special interests hell bent on gutting the Antiquities Act, the tool for creating national monuments and a central pillar of America's public lands legacy.
If S. 33 or any other bill aimed at crippling the Antiquities Act ever becomes law, we will lose our ability to permanently protect the places that embody our shared legacy as Montanans, and as Americans. It would also undermine Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy and severely weaken our ability to preserve the shared cultural identity we’ve inherited.
Monument protection of the Upper Missouri River Breaks, for instance, ensures that future generations will enjoy the same opportunity we now have to experience some of the best big game hunting in the world; to view tipi rings, rock art, and other artifacts that go back thousands of years; and to camp and hike in the same riverside spots that Lewis and Clark did in 1805. Monument protection of Pompeys Pillar similarly enables future generations to physically connect with a moment that changed the course of Montana’s history.
But national monument protection of these places did not occur out of thin air. Thousands of Montanans wrote comments, attended meetings, and spoke up for protecting the Upper Missouri River Breaks, a place that means so much to our history, culture, and outdoor heritage. S. 33 would make it difficult, if not impossible, for any future president to act on this kind of groundswell.
Without a functioning Antiquities Act, we would lose our ability to protect places like the Breaks, like Pompeys Pillar, like the Little Bighorn Battlefield – places that tell us what it means to be a Montanan and an American.