Five Reasons to Love National Monuments

A MONUMENTAL STORY
Reasons to Love National Monuments

Many national monuments across the west are currently under fire from the federal government, but I think there are plenty of good reasons to support the continued protection of these areas, no matter what side you’re on. Here are some of mine:

  1. Monuments keep the American culture alive. National monuments (and the US’s many other protective parks) are a great way to maintain a beautiful country for ourselves and future Americans. Ours was a country built on the frontier and exploration, and national monuments play a key role in keeping that culture alive through the ages.

    Natural Arches NM, Utah (c) ABR 2017
  2. Monuments provide a long-term source of economic growth. Many of the alternative uses of monument land only provide short-term gains. Let’s take uranium mining as an example. This is a finite resource, and once it is removed, there is no way to renew its value to the communities involved. Furthermore, the land left behind is permanently (in the scope of a human lifespan) degraded (an example from Navajo lands). Alternatively, an industry like tourism does not consume a finite resource, and while it can degrade the environment in a variety of ways, these effects can be mitigated by policy and repairs are possible.

    Agua Fria NM, AZ (c) ABR 2017
  3. Monuments are a source of American pride. Did you know that the concept of national parks were developed in the United States? The system of land protection that we have has been one of our most successful legacies around the world. National monuments are a part of that, and it is something to be proud of. People travel from ALL OVER THE WORLD to see our beautiful country.

    Sunset Crater NM, AZ (c) ABR 2017
  4. Monuments protect American history. The Antiquities Act was designed to protect relics of the past, and landscapes are a part of that. Some of the best stories from our history, especially in the West, comes from the harrowing tales of women and men trying to make their way in an unforgiving and wild environment. Having the opportunity to see those landscapes as our ancestors did keeps our history alive and helps us appreciate what it took to build our country.

    Cabrillo NM, CA (c) ABR 2017
  5. Monuments provide many different services and resources to local people and visitors alike. I’m going to go back to the uranium example here (just because it is relevant to several of the western monuments). Mining provides jobs to miners, can support a community while the resource holds out, and it provides taxes as well. It is unlikely that many other services (e.g. clean water, recreation, etc.) will come from land used for this activity, and the companies selling this resource will take the lion’s share of benefits from uranium’s extraction. Monuments, on the other hand, provide jobs through tourism and management, revenue from fees, recreational opportunities, and a variety of services that support human health and happiness.
    Wupatki NM, AZ (c) ABR 2017

    If you’d like to let the government know what you think about national monuments, public comments are open until July 10th, 2017. You can comment here or through Monuments For All.

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30 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Love National Monuments

  1. When I first saw this I was like, “only five?” But I actually feel like you’ve captured the essence of the monuments in these five points. Great post! It’s educational without being pedantic. I love your writing style.

  2. Autum

    I’ve never been to any of these listed. But I can def agree and say that all are awesome to visit and give you a sense of pride and understanding on what was built by our ancestors.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. Monuments are most certainly a part of our history that we need to preserve and learn from. I’m so glad there there are still institutions that fight to preserve specific places, to give something to the future generations 🙂

  4. I agree! Our national monuments are so important. I’ve been to many, and I live 20 minutes from the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri. I have a blog post about it if you’d like to check it out. It’s on my home page.

  5. jordanseasyentertaining

    I love visiting national monuments and really hope my kids get to enjoy them too. Great post and I’m glad to know there’s something we can do to protect them.

  6. The same situation I guess is happening in my country, Philippines. It seems like the government isn’t appreciating the importance of the monuments anymore. And it’s heartbreaking if the next generations will have the same mindset. That these monuments are just nothing but pieces of history with no value.

  7. National parks in America are so plenty and beautiful, and glad that they keep it and maintained it. Hope that these parks will be spared in any political interest especially of the new administration.

  8. I love national monuments. It is so very important to protect them. I agree that they are part of the American culture and we take pride in them. I am a history lover so anything with history I find important to preserve.

    1. Yes! And history is everywhere! Some people don’t see nature as part of history, but in the southwest, these are the vistas that inspired explorers to push on and settle, and natural places out here are full of Native American history as well (if not current spiritual/religious significance).

  9. Honestly speaking, when I’ve been to places and seen some of the national monuments, it is almost always an emotional experience because it’s like you’re not only viewing history, but you’re a part of it and keeping the story alive

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