U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Historic Preservation
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3 Rivers Petroglyphs Site - Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico Animated graphic that says - Learn, discover, protect


Nearly a century ago President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Antiquities Act of 1906. This action expanded his position as a leader in the conservation and scientific observation of natural and cultural resources that he first established through his creation of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in 1903, the first of many refuges for wildlife now contained within the National Wildlife Refuge System. It likewise forever linked the United States to a conservation movement whose effects and messages continue to be heard today. Even amid the industrial expansion that characterized turn of the century America, Roosevelt stayed true to the ethic of progress through preservation.

Through a succinct piece of legislation, the Antiquities Act did allow for the:
  • establishment of a Federal policy to protect antiquities
  • designation of a means to set aside areas as National Monuments
  • establishment of a permitting process for research of antiquities and a penalty for unauthorized access to antiquities
Its passage gave rise to a host of laws and regulations and became the foundation for public policy and involvement at all levels of government (Federal, State, Local, Tribal) aimed at preserving that most fragile of resources – America's past. Roosevelt believed aspects of America, including its history, should be considered "Non noblus solum – Not for ourselves alone," but protected and preserved for future generations.

The USFWS Preservation and Conservation Ethic
As an agency, the USFWS encapsulates the drive and commitment established by Roosevelt and continues to lead the nation in its preservation of natural and cultural resources. It has built the original twenty-six wildlife refuges established by Roosevelt into a system of over 500 refuges, including two National Monuments, Hanford Reach and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, contained within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

USFWS commitment to its heritage stewardship responsibilities is evident in the number of historic properties that USFWS protects and interprets for its visitors.

USFWS activities and information pertaining to the Antiquities Act Centennial
Throughout 2006 the USFWS will be producing informative articles pertaining to its unique perspective on the Antiquities Act and how it has been applied to protect USFWS resources.

Please refer to this section often to check on updated information.

Links to Other Activities
The Antiquities Act has had far reaching effects on every federal agency. Many are commemorating this important milestone through public events, articles, books and virtual tours of monuments, throughout 2006.

You are encouraged to use the links below to learn more about these events and where and when they are occurring.

7th Annual U.S. Forest Service Fossil Conference. The theme of the conference is the 100th Anniversary of the Antiquities Act of 1906.

The National Park Service Antiquities Act Centennial.

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