Antiquities Act

Designating Lands as “Special“—and Facing the Consequences

The west is abounding with awe-inspiring scenes of mountain meadows, towering canyons, and rushing rivers. Many of these beautiful and bountiful areas have inspired Congress and some American presidents to designate them as “special.”

Unfortunately, these special designations inevitably result in the curtailing of activities such as grazing and logging—two elements that are crucial to healthy ecosystems. Reducing grazing and logging leads to overgrowth of unpalatable and highly flammable vegetation.

The Case for Property Rights and Good Management

Stop and think—why are these areas are so beautiful and bountiful? The answer is: hundreds of years of management by ranchers and loggers.

If we want to preserve the land’s natural beauty, then we must preserve the livelihoods of the people who have managed and maintained the resources for generations.

Public lands, even without special designations, are highly regulated, making private property interests difficult to defend. However, the principle of private property rights is just as important on public land as it is on private. It’s what keeps countless rural communities vibrant—and it’s at the very foundation of what makes America great.

Download the Antiquities Act Fact Sheet