Final Days for Public to Weigh In on Monuments’ Fates

After President Donald Trump ordered a review of national monuments this past April, Courthouse News embarked on an in-depth series of features investigating how communities across the country are reacting to the news that their protected oceans, forests and deserts may be targeted for closure or reduction.

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke limited his review to monuments larger than 100,000 acres and created after Jan. 1, 1996, leaving 27 for possible delisting. They extend as far west as Hawaiian sea waters from which natives believe all life spawns and returns, and as far east as Maine forests coveted by lumber interests.

Currently protected under the Antiquities Act of 1906 – legislation that reflected the naturalist passions of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt – the monuments are treasured by many tourists, locals and environmentalists alike, but also eyed by businesses (and their workers) prevented by statute from exploiting their lands and waters.

With reporters in almost all 50 states, Courthouse News sent correspondents to tell the stories of some of these endangered sites in an ongoing series, featuring profiles, editorials and hard news. This StoryMap showcases 13 of the monuments in question. The public comment period for the potential delistings closes on July 10.

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