While most of the news about Interior Director Zinke’s Antiquities Act Report covered the reduction in size of Bears Ears and Escalante areas of Utah, Zinke is recommending new monuments be created.
In the report, releases Tuesday, Zinke notes:
“There are many instances of the use of the Act for the proper stewardship of objects of cultural,
historic, or scientific interest. Through stakeholder engagement, DOI identified new sites that
may merit protection and designation under the Act. This would provide an opportunity to work
with Congress to establish a standard process for public input and monument designations in the
This process should include clear criteria for designations and methodology for meeting
conservation and protection goals. Both should be fully transparent so that the public may
provide the exigency for designation and weigh the benefits of protection against economic harm
to the public. Options to establish this new monument-designation process needs to include
legislation, as well as regulations, or internal guidance within the Executive Branch, such as an
Executive Order or a Secretary’s Order.
One such location that has come to DOI’s attention is Camp Nelson, an 1863 Union Army
supply depot, training center, and hospital in Kentucky. It encompasses approximately 4,000
acres and served as the third largest recruitment and training center for African-American
regiments during the Civil War. I recommend that DOI begin a public process to weigh
designating this location as a national monument.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 included direction to NPS to conduct several
special resource studies for civil rights sites in Mississippi. While each location is of interest,
one location to highlight is the Medgar Evers Home in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Medgar Evers
was the first National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) field
secretary in Mississippi and organized protests and boycotts against segregation across
Mississippi. He was assassinated outside his home in 1963 by a white supremacist. The NPS in
2017 designated his house as a National Historic Landmark. I recommend these sites be
examined for possible monument designation.
Another location that may qualify for protection under the Act is the Badger-Two Medicine area,
which is approximately 130,000 acres within the Lewis and Clark National Forest in
northwestern Montana. It is bounded by Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness,
and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. This area of the Rocky Mountain Front was designated a
Traditional Cultural District in May 2014, and is considered sacred by the Blackfeet Nation. I
recommend this area be considered for designation as a national monument and as a candidate
for co-management with the Blackfeet tribe.”