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Montana Voices: An attack on one monument is an attack on them all

Over the course of more than a century, the Antiquities Act has proven one of our most potent mechanisms for permanently conserving important fish and wildlife habitat and upholding traditional hunting and fishing opportunities on our public lands.

The recommendations made by Secretary Ryan Zinke, if adopted, would undermine the strength of the Antiquities Act, blunt a powerful conservation tool and diminish our national monuments system overall.

An attack on one monument is an attack on them all. Public lands sportsmen will not stand idly by while these attacks unfold. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers will continue to stand up for our national monuments, the opportunities they represent and the legacy they protect and sustain.

Announced in April, the Trump administration’s executive order directs the Interior Department to study dozens of national monuments covering tens of millions of acres that have been designated since 1996 and gauge whether their size, boundaries and scope conform to parameters in the Antiquities Act.

Signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents – eight Republicans and eight Democrats – to safeguard millions of acres of exceptional public lands and waters, including outstanding fish and wildlife habitat that provides some of the best hunting and fishing in the nation.

Recently designated national monuments, such as Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico, Berryessa Snow Mountain in California and Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana, provide important hunting and fishing opportunities and enjoy widespread support from hunters and anglers.