News December 6, 2017

Zinke Would Create Three New Monuments

by Jackson Hole. Media

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

future.

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.”

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