THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 9, 2000
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
PROTECTING AMERICA'S NATURAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE
June 9, 2000
President Clinton today signed proclamations creating four
new national monuments to protect federal lands representing unique,
irreplaceable pieces of America's natural and cultural heritage. The four
are the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado, the
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon, the Hanford Reach
National Monument in south central Washington, and the Ironwood Forest National
Monument in southern Arizona.
A Century of Land Stewardship. In 1906, Congress
passed the Antiquities Act, authorizing the President to create national
monuments on lands owned by the federal government to protect "objects of
historic and scientific interest." All but three Presidents since Theodore
Roosevelt have used the Act to protect natural and historic treasures. These
areas include Death Valley and Muir Woods in California; Glacier Bay, Misty
Fjords, and Admiralty Island in Alaska; the Grand Tetons in Wyoming; portions
of Washington's Olympic Peninsula; and Utah's Bryce and Zion canyons.
More than 100 monuments have been designated in 24 states and the Virgin
Islands, protecting some 70 million acres, about 10 percent of all federal
The Four New Monuments. Last year, President
Clinton requested Interior Secretary Babbitt to report to him on unique and
fragile federal lands in need of protection. Last month, the Secretary
recommended following lands, which the President is today protecting as
- Canyons of the
Ancients-- A treasure trove of ancient culture in the Four Corners region
of Colorado, 9 miles west of Mesa Verde National Park, the 164,000-acre
monument contains the highest known density of archeological sites anywhere in
the United States, with rich, well-preserved remnants of human history going
back thousands of years.
- Cascade-Siskiyou -- The
52,000-acre monument in southern Oregon includes Soda Mountain and surrounding
lands rich in plant and animal life. Its location at the convergence of the
Klamath and Cascade Mountains makes the area an ecological wonder with
biological diversity unmatched in the Cascade Range.
- Hanford Reach -- The
195,000-acre monument in south central Washington straddles one of the last
free-flowing stretches of the Columbia River -- a critical area for spawning
salmon. It contains a wealth of wildlife and remnants of human history spanning
more than 10,000 years.
- Ironwood Forest -- The
129,000-acre monument in the Sonoran Desert 25 miles northwest of Tuscon
contains rich stands of ironwood trees -- which can live more than 800 years --
and a stunning diversity of bird and animal life well adapted to the high,
rugged desert country.
Each monument includes only lands already owned and managed by
the federal government. Private property rights are not affected, and valid
existing rights on the federal lands are preserved.
President Clinton has created five other national monuments --
Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Grand
Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Agua Fria in
Arizona, Giant Sequoia in California, and the
California Coastal monument -- and has
expanded the Pinnacles monument in
California. With these actions, the President has protected more land as
national monuments in the lower 48 states than any president in history. The
Administration strongly opposes legislative
language now before Congress that would prohibit any spending to develop
management plans, improve visitor services, enhance protections, or undertake
other activities at any national monuments created this year.