More importantly, these national monument designations have received broad support. For example, the 2017 Colorado College conservation poll showed that 80 percent of voters back keeping national monuments in place, while only 13 percent support revoking them. Through The Antiquities Act, U.S. presidents have been able to protect hundreds of millions of acres of land that have significant cultural and historical significance. These presidential designated National Monuments protect our public lands, air, water, wildlife, culturally and historically significant artifacts and sites. Furthermore, monuments help to support and grow local economies, tourism, and outdoor access. While it only permits presidents to designate new national monuments from existing public lands, it has been used to create over 130 national monuments.
Why is this important to Latino communities?
Access & Health
- The Antiquities Act increases access to public lands for Latino communities - increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to open spaces and recreational activities
- Multiple studies conclude that access to nature promotes a healthy and active lifestyle
- For many Latinos and other diverse urban communities, national monuments such as the San Gabriel Mountains, Mojave Trails, and Sand to Snow National Monuments provide much needed open space, recreation opportunities, and public land and water protections for the fast-developing Los Angeles metropolitan area, home to 15 million people.
Cultural Heritage and History
- The Antiquities Act is instrumental in the preservation of our cultural heritage and historic sites that represent the stories of all Americans such as the home of civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez in California.
- Places such as El Morro, Browns Canyon, Sand to Snow, and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments and many more are rich with archaeological sites, trails, artifacts, and histories of indigenous, Spanish, and Mexican heritage. The Antiquities Act was meant to preserve places such as these for future generations to understand our nation’s diverse and complex past.
Jobs & Economy
- The outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs. National monuments are places to recreate and enjoy the outdoors, thus the Antiquities Act helps stimulate economic activity throughout the US.
- Initiatives such as Latino Conservation Week, MANO internships and fellowships with public land agencies through Hispanic Access Foundation, and programming with Latino Outdoors, Nuestra Tierra and a multitude of Latino environmental groups - all promote programming and job opportunities on public lands, including national monuments.
- Hispanic Access Foundation’s Latino Heritage Internship Program and U.S. Forest Service Fellowships aim to promote access to employment opportunities through federal land management agencies. Our programs have placed Latino interns and fellows in the following national monuments: Berryessa Snow Mountain, Casa Grande Ruins, Castillo de San Marcos, Cesar E. Chavez, El Malpaís, El Morro, Harriet Tubman, San Juan Islands, and Chimney Rock.
- 75% of Latinos would support the creation of new parks and monuments in their state.
- 94% of Latinos see public lands, such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas as an “essential part” of the economies in these states.
- 69% of Latino voters in the West believe the presence of national public lands, such as national forests, national monuments, or wildlife refuges helps the economy in their state.