On April 26th, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that called for a review of any national monument created since Jan. 1, 1996, that spans at least 100,000 acres. The Initial order called for the review of 27 monuments with a big focus on Bears Ears, and Grand Staircase.
On December 4th 2017, The President announced his plans to shrink Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by 50% and Bears Ears National Monument by 85%. This is the biggest call for federal land reduction in history. Most national monuments are created by the executive power granted to the president under Antiquities Act of 1906 which was signed into law by former president Teddy Rosevelt. 16 presidents have used this power to create 157 National Monuments for the American people to enjoy. A sitting president has never tried to reverse a previous president’s decision to declare a national monument until now.
The Monumental Project is a photographic attempt to raise awareness of America’s public lands. There is no question that American’s are hard working people. Generations of immigrants have poured blood, sweat, and tears into making this country what it is. Hard work must be followed by reflection and relaxation in order to create a meaningful life though. Without public lands, the people of the U.S. are missing out on an integral part of the American Dream.
The Monumental project was created with a goal of documenting the vary lands that America is contemplating selling off to big industry for exploitation. The project is a collection of fine art landscape photographs and video shorts designed to spotlight America’s finest landscapes in hopes of educating people on the importance of public lands and the role that they play in our nation. All of the images on this page are of lands that came under threat by the original list of the 27 national monuments.
“Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us .”
THE ANTIQUITIES ACT
On June 8th, 1906 President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law after it had passed through congress.
The Antiquities Act was the first law to establish that archeological sites on public lands are important public resources. The law requires federal land management agencies to preserve for both present and future generations, the historic, scientific, commemorative, and cultural values of the archaeological and historic sites and structures on these lands. It also authorizes the President to protect landmarks, structures, and objects of historic or scientific interest by designating them as National Monuments.
The Antiquities Act was deemed necessary after two decades of looting, desecration, and destruction of Native American sites in the Southwest such as Chaco Canyon and Cliff Palace.
A vocal proponent of conservation Roosevelt used to Antiquities Act to create 18 National Monuments between 1906 and 1909 including the Grand Canyon which later went on to become a National Park.
Bear Ears National Monument
“We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted…So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.”
– Theodore Roosevelt