National Monuments are special areas of public land designated by public proclamation by the President or by Congress, to protect historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, or other objects of historic or scientific interest. While only Congress can designate a National Park or wilderness area, Congress gave the President authority (through the Antiquities Act of 1906) to designate National Monuments. President Theodore Roosevelt used this authority to protect the Grand Canyon. Nearly every President since then has created National Monuments.
Generally, the President´s Proclamation halts new mining claims or oil and gas leases inside the monument. A Monument Proclamation also may require that publicly owned lands and resources always remain in public ownership.
The Bureau of Land Management administers fifteen national monuments in eight western states. Congress granted the President authority to designate national monuments in the Antiquities Act of 1906, which specifies that the law’s purpose is to protect “objects of historic or scientific interest.” In addition to presidentially-created national monuments, Congress has established national monuments by passing aws to create individual monuments with their own purpose (generally to protect natural or historic features). Since 1906, the President or Congress have created more than 100 national monuments that are currently managed by the National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, or BLM.
National Monuments are a component of the National Conservation Lands.