Idaho Senate Approves Memorial Asking for National Park Designation for Craters of the Moon


Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

By  via Boise Weekly

Despite pushback from the Idaho Farm Bureau, the Idaho Senate on Monday approved a measure calling for the state’s congressional delegation to press for national park status for the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

“Our congressional delegation told us, ‘Before we go forward with this, we want to make sure that the state is behind this.’ They don’t need our approval; they could take this and go with it. But they really want to make sure there’s local support,” said Sen. Jeff Siddoway (R-Terreton), sponsor of Senate Joint Memorial 101. “We’ve got some communities over there that are struggling and the water concerns are a nightmare. Some of the local folks are trying everything possible to help their community.”

The Farm Bureau argued that re-designating the Craters to a national park might restrict area farmers from hauling hay, cattle or sheep on highways that run through the monument.

Siddoway reminded his fellow lawmakers that, in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt gave the title of U.S. Highway 20/26 to the state of Idaho.

“The highway belongs to the state, not the Park Service and that’s the way it would stay,” he said, adding that some businesses had already expressed interest in building new campgrounds, hotels or restaurants in the area if there were to be a national park designation.

“It’s not a panacea, but it would bring some economic stability to the area,” Siddoway said.

The bill passed on a 20-13 vote and moves to the Idaho House for its consideration.

The state of Undiscovered America and the future of conservation in the United States

The Undiscovered America project was created with the optimism that American environmental conservation would continue with the establishment of new National Parks and National Monuments for generations to come. As I’m sure you know this election has elevated us to a much more complicated situation. For the first time since the establishment of Yellowstone the federal government is considering revoking monuments created through the executive powers bestowed by the Antiquities Act. In this new reality where new lands are unlikely to be established and existing lands could be nullified, I’ve gone fairly silent. I regret this and will not allow this to happen again. Conservation and public lands should not be allowed to become political issues. Protected nature is good for humanity, and that is not controversial. I will not allow it to be. There are natural landscapes accross this country that are in danger of disappearing or being altered, and once they are gone they are gone forever. We must protect them, we will protect them. Expect to hear more about attempts to create new public lands, as well as efforts to take them away.

Lastly, the service I was using to sell advanced copies of the Undiscovered America book, Shopstarter, has gone under. If anyone knows another good pro-order site I’d love to hear about it.

Thank you for your support and passion for new National Parks!

-Zack Frank


Ted Cruz and John Kasich want to sell off OUR public lands

via Think Progress

In a controversial new TV ad aiming to sway conservative caucus-goers in Nevada but likely to backfire with mainstream voters, Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-TX) vows to sell-off or give away the state’s national parks, national forests, national monuments, and other public lands.

“If you trust me with your vote,” says Cruz in the ad, “I will fight day and night to return full control of Nevada’s lands to its rightful owners, its citizens.”

YouTube Preview Image

Chiricahua National Monument could become a national park

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

By Douglas Kreutz (The Arizona Daily Star)

Some residents of Southern Arizona have launched a campaign to have Chiricahua National Monument southeast of Willcox redesignated as Chiricahua National Park, and they’re getting support from a member of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally says she is planning to introduce legislation to authorize the change, which requires an act of Congress.

Chiricahua Monument — a preserve of 11,985 acres known for its spectacular rock formations, scenic viewpoints and extensive network of trails — would “have no significant changes other than a name change,” said Allen Etheridge, superintendent of the monument. Designation as a national park “wouldn’t change boundaries or increase the budget.”

Bob Gent, a member of the Sierra Vista Tourism Commission and coordinator of the Campaign for Chiricahua National Park, said he and others in Southern Arizona strongly believe that a redesignation is merited.

“Chiricahua National Monument truly is a geologic wonder of the world, and it deserves national park status,” Gent said. “It’s unique in its scenic beauty.”

Hours After State Of The Union, Senate Targets National Parks

By Claire Moser (via Think Progress)

Just hours after President Obama’s State of the Union address highlighted the effort to protect more public lands and waters than any other administration, the U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a controversial and unpopular proposal that aims to block the protection of new parks, monuments, and historic sites around the country.

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer’s (R) proposal, which is being offered as an amendment to a bill that would approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, would add additional paperwork and cost to every locally-driven conservation effort that requires federal designation or land purchase by a U.S. agency.

“This amendment’s clear aim is to slow and stop the protection of new parks in the U.S,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “But trying to tie red tape around everything from Civil War battlefields to local trails projects might be one of the most unpopular anti-environmental ideas the new Senate leadership could have possibly started with.”

A public opinion survey of more than 1,000 likely 2016 voters, released last week by the Center for American Progress, found that the idea of stopping the creation of new national parks and monuments is one of the most unpopular ideas that the new Congress is considering, with nearly seven out of ten respondents expressing opposition.

Critics of Senator Fischer’s proposal note that the barriers to new parks that the amendment creates, like requiring the Secretary of the Interior to prove that new designations do not impede other management, would likely be overcome easily, but not without unnecessary paperwork, additional time, and bureaucratic cost to taxpayers. The impacts of the amendment would extend to projects like fishing access points funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the protection of Civil War Battlefields, and the creation of new national wildlife refuges.

The Fischer amendment echoes a proposal introduced by Representative Don Young (R-AK) in the House of Representatives last week that would strip current and future presidents’ authority to designate new national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Both Republican and Democratic presidents have used their authority under the Act to protect public lands and historic sites, including many of the country’s most iconic places such as the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty.

Claire Moser is the Research and Advocacy Associate with the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Moser.