This summer, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated its 103rd anniversary. The NPS, the leading agency responsible for maintaining national parks and monuments, remains popular among the general public. Yet, the reservation of public lands is not without controversy, especially when it comes to national monuments.
One key difference between national parks and national monuments is how they are created. National parks can only be established by an act of Congress. Monuments, on the other hand, are established by presidential proclamation.
The power to establish monuments comes from the Antiquities Act of 1906. The original purpose of the Antiquities Act, as its name suggests, was to allow the president to quickly protect antiquities and other historic objects from looters.