Ryan Zinke: So why we shrunk the monuments

Ryan Zinke may be the United States secretary of the Interior. The views expressed in this commentary will be solely those of the writer.

(CNN) Across our great land, items of cultural and historic significance tell the account of our nation. From the Statue of Liberty to the birthplace of George Washington, preserving our American heritage means protecting these items. In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Take action, giving the President power to proclaim items on federal lands as national monuments also to reserve the tiniest area of land compatible with their protection within the monument designation.

Ryan Zinke

Recently, however, presidents have abused the Antiquities Act to secure vast swaths of public land. The “smallest location compatible” requirement is just about the exception, instead of the rule, as public access, hunting and fishing, and utilization of private property are restricted

Generally, these designations are made without the support of the people on the ground. With this thought, President Donald Trump directed me, in April, to examine recent national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.

President Trump was first absolutely right to order this assessment. The President pledged through the campaign that the forgotten individuals of this country will be forgotten forget about, and he’s delivering on that promise. I met with many native stakeholders, rode the range with ranchers, spoke with conservationists, and spent period with Native American tribal leaders, trying to understand the effect that these monument designations have had on everyday Americans.

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I sat down with people on all sides of the issue to listen to their perspectives and from those conversations, formed my tips to the President. What I found was that people can all agree on attempting to protect these items of historic or scientific curiosity while ensuring public access to public land. Accurate conservation, based on the philosophy of multiple-use on our public lands, offers been the American way for decades.

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