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NPS Retirees Say House Legislation Would Gut Antiquities Act, Lead To More Hunting In National Parks

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Legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate would, if allowed to become law, gut the Antiquities Act that so many presidents have used to preserve and protect valuable landscapes and historical settings, according to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

The measure is being considered as an amendment to the Farm Bill on the Senate floor and should be opposed by anyone who cares about the special places that are part of the National Park System, according to the Park Service retirees.

The bill's language would gut the Antiquities Act, which was used by past presidents to set aside places such as Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Carlsbad Caverns and Acadia national parks.

“Some of this nation’s most loved parks were first set aside and protected as national monuments and were later legislated by the Congress into national parks," said Maureen Finnerty, chair of the Coalition's Executive Council. "The modification to the Antiquities Act would require that any presidential proclamation be approved by the governor and the legislature in the state in which the potential monument would be established. Such a requirement would essentially render the Antiquities Act meaningless as such accord rarely exists.

"Moreover, the president can only employ the provisions of the Act on lands already owned by the people of the United States. It cannot be used on state or privately-owned lands," she added.

Additionally, the group says, H.R. 4089 could open up many areas of the National Park System to hunting, trapping, and recreational shooting. Most national park sites are closed to such activities in the interests of public safety, visitor enjoyment and resource protection. The House defeated an amendment to the bill that would have specifically excluded all the 397 units of the National Park System from these activities, which are already legal and appropriate on millions of acres of other public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

“NPS has long governed units of the National Park System based on the principle that hunting, trapping, collecting specimens and other uses that extract natural resources from park area ecosystems are not allowed, unless Congress has clearly authorized such activities," said former Glacier Bay National Park Superintendent Cherry Payne, a member of the Coalition's Executive Council. "This longstanding principle has been confirmed by the courts.

"H.R 4089 would eliminate this principle because it would recognize that hunting, trapping, fishing and collecting are to be affirmatively supported and facilitated on all federal lands," she added. "As a result, H.R. 4089 would stand NPS management policy on its head, creating a presumption that consumptive uses are the norm, and must be allowed unless expressly prohibited.”

Comments

not sure I'd say essentially rewriting how the Antiquities Act can be used is "chicken-little rhetoric".

So again - this legislation says nothing about past properties designated under the Antiquities Act (ergo no gutting). And it doesn't say anything of mining, oil and gas, geothermal et al - so yes - it is Chicken Little rhetoric to claim those things might happen.

The legistlation does require state approval for FUTURE designations. What is so wrong with that? Why shouldn't the people and state most effectived have a say?

And again - how is the hunting fishing etc different. Under this legistlation, each unit would decide, which is exactly the status quo. Or do you (and Rick) read this to say they must allow hunting on the grounds of the Washington Monument? The legislation specifically says:

"Nothing in this title requires a Federal agency to give preference to recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting over other uses of Federal public land"

So obviously, if there is some reason that fishing, hunting or shooting should not occur, the Federal agency (Park Service) has the ability to prevent it. If there is no reason - than they should support and facilitate. Makes perfect sense - unless you just believe that hunting, fishing and shooting should be banned per se.


"The legistlation does require state approval for FUTURE designations. What is so wrong with that? Why shouldn't the people and state most effectived have a say?"

This guy obviously doesn't live in Utah.


So again - this legislation says nothing about past properties designated under the Antiquities Act (ergo no gutting).

You're confusing gutting the properties with gutting the Act.

I could go on and on . . .

And it doesn't say anything of mining, oil and gas, geothermal et al

These fall under "collecting."

The legistlation does require state approval for FUTURE designations. What is so wrong with that? Why shouldn't the people and state most effectived have a say?

Because for the same reason we wouldn't have had Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, the Alaska parks, etc. today, we may not have great future parks. The people who have a say are Americans. The millions who visit these parks are more effected by them by locals who don't even visit them.


With all due respect to imtnbike, I think he underestimates the fear that the NRA strikes in the hearts of legislators during the election season. This bill was principally crafted by the Safari Club and the NRA.

As to the comment from Anon 8:19 pm, think about this:

NPS has long governed units of the National Park System based on the principle that hunting, trapping, collecting specimens and other uses that extract natural resources from park area ecosystems are not allowed, unless Congress has clearly authorized such activities.This longstanding principle has been confirmed by the courts.H.R. 4089/S. 2066 would eliminate this principle because they would recognize that hunting, trapping, fishing and collecting are to be affirmatively supported and facilitated on all federal lands.As a result, H.R. 4089/S. 2066 would stand NPS management policy on its head, creating a presumption that consumptive uses are the norm, and must be allowed unless expressly prohibited.

As to what is wrong with Antiquities Act section, the President can only declare monuments on lands already owned by the people of the United States. It cannot be used on state or privately-owned lands. In almost every case in the past, significant opposition existed in the states to the creation of national monuments. Had the Antiquities Act in the past required state approval, we may very well be without, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Grand Teton, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Acadia, Zion, Petrified Forest, Badlands, Arches, Capital Reef, C&O Canal, Biscayne, Chaco Canyon, Dry Tortugas, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, and almost all the national parks in Alaska. All these parks started as national monuments proclaimed by the sitting President, using the powers vested in him by the 1906 Antiquities Act, on land already owned by the people of the US.

Rick


You're confusing gutting the properties with gutting the Act.

I could go on and on . . .

Please do, because I don't see either the properties or the Act being gutted. What exactly will change other than hunting and fishing which the Antiquities Act doesn't address.

These fall under "collecting."

No they don't. The only "collecting" addressed in 4098 is the collecting of wildlife and fish.

Because for the same reason we wouldn't have had Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, the Alaska parks, etc. today, we may not have great future parks.

What in 4089 prevents the creation of new parks?

the millions who visit these parks are more effected by them by locals who don't even visit them.

I see, so we should tell the French how the Eiffel Tower should be administered. Afterall, there are probably more Americans (certainly more foreigners) that visit the Tower than Parasians.


It's true, the biggest opponents of National Parks and wilderness are always the locals. Just look back at how Arizona business and politicians fought to oppose the Grand Canyon's national park status. They're still doing it today by arguing, "Banning uranium mines near Grand Canyon is stifling Arizona's economy. HARRUMPH!!"

This bill would also effectively gut the Wilderness Act of 1964. It's bad legislation.


This bill would also effectively gut the Wilderness Act of 1964. It's bad legislation.

And how would it do that? More hyperbole.


Anonymous, you are either not paying attention, or you don't want to understand. I'm guessing it's a combination of both.


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