Why a National Monument?
Why monument status? In 1906, the Antiquities Act enabled the Executive Branch to establish national monuments throughout the country to protect and honor significant American landscapes. However, the creation of the National Conservation Lands System in 2000 dramatically changed the status of National Monuments within the Department of Interior. The mission of this new system was to “conserve, protect and restore these nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.” The current designation of public lands in the Amargosa Basin, such as a Wild and Scenic River, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, a National Historic Trail and National Conservation Areas, mean they are already part of the National Conservation Lands system(with the exception of private property as the National Conservations Lands system has no authority over privately owned lands). As valuable as these individual public land designations are, the context in which they are found gives added meaning to the land and its history. Designating the Amargosa Basin as a National Monument would ensure a holistic management plan that would impart this broader perspective. It is time to take this step and grant the entire Amargosa Basin national monument status, a step that would honor, protect, and enhance the land and its people.