Friday, June 30, 2017

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve: 27 Monuments Stop #10 (and a Look at San Juan Islands National Monument)

Kamimah Road
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  Idaho.  April 22, 2016
Copyright © 2017 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved

National Monuments in Danger

Brent Rose has been making a ton of progress the last few days!  It's time to get caught up with these posts!

We're down to about ten days on the comment period, which means I have ten days to get through the remainder of the monuments that I haven't posted about yet, and to fill in some more information about some of the monuments I already have posted about.  Rose's posts have been invaluable for a project like this.  As he's traveled, we get current video and basic information about the monuments available from him, which serves at least as some basic content on the majority of the monuments in question.

First things first, though, here is the video of Rose's visit to Craters of the Moon:

To be fair, the parts of this monument that are in true danger are not what we see in Rose's video.  He filmed in the original monument that is run by the National Park Service (NPS).  The monuments run by the NPS do not, largely, seem to be at risk, currently, of elimination, except for Katahdin Woods and Waters, which only landed on the list because of the Governor of Maine's extreme opposition to it.  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has already stated that he is unlikely to recommend any changes to that monument in Maine, in spite of Governor LePage's views.

At Craters of the Moon, what is more likely in jeopardy are the lands added to the monument in 2000 by President Clinton, the national preserve administered by the NPS and the monument expansion run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  (See the map below for details.)

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve Managment Areas Map

The monument has been expanded several times since it's original creation in 1924, President Clinton's 2000 proclamation explains:

Since 1924, the monument has been expanded and boundary adjustments made through four presidential proclamations issued pursuant to the Antiquities Act (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431). Presidential Proclamation 1843 of July 23, 1928, expanded the monument to include certain springs for water supply and additional features of scientific interest. Presidential Proclamation 1916 of July 9, 1930, Presidential Proclamation 2499 of July 18, 1941, and Presidential Proclamation 3506 of November 19, 1962, made further adjustments to the boundaries. In 1996, a minor boundary adjustment was made by section 205 of the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-333, 110 Stat. 4093, 4106).

The latest expansion protects the entirety of the major lava flows in the Snake River valley, and some of the surrounding land and the lava free "parks" within the flows.  The flows themselves, outside of the existing national monument, were designated as a national preserve and are managed by the NPS, while the rest of the land is managed as a monument by the BLM.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Google Earth.

This is, of course, a huge chunk of land.  But it is worthy of protection.  During my visit to the monument in April of 2016, I spent as much time exploring parts of the "new" monument as I did the old.  The photo at the top of this post is from the 2000 expansion, as is the photo on my first post about this monument, and I hope to post some more photos from that area before July 10.

It is also fascinating to explore the photos of the area outside of the "original" monument in Google Earth.

Trail to Inferno Cone Summit
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  Idaho.  April 22, 2016
Copyright © 2017 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved

Apparently, many folks in Idaho were caught off-guard by the monument's inclusion on the list of monuments to be reviewed, partially because of the fact that many in Idaho would rather see the monument be elevated to full national park status, rather than be reduced or eliminated.

According to one article, "Dani Mazzotta, the central Idaho director of the Idaho Conservation League, says Craters' inclusion in this review process is surprising."

"This process undermines the true value of Craters of the Moon for the unique landscape that it is, for the history that's there, for what it provides to our local economies, to our local communities," she explains. "It really is a treasure and we should be calling it that."
The article goes on to point out that a recent poll "found 55 percent of Idahoans would like to see the upgrade" to park status, while only "thirty-two percent want it to keep its current status."

View East from Inferno Cone
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  Idaho.  April 22, 2016
Copyright © 2017 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved

The Idaho Statesman notes:

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson this week urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to leave Craters out of the review, saying the monument “adequately suits the diverse interests of Idahoans.” 
“In Idaho, we believe that cooperative efforts produce long-term solutions and in this instance, Craters of the Moon fits that definition,” Simpson said in a May 9 letter to Zinke. “This is due in large part to a collaborative planning process, in concert with compromise legislation that I authored and was signed into law in 2002, which ultimately resulted in a truly Idaho solution.” 
In fact, in recent years county officials have lobbied to upgrade Craters’ status from monument to a higher-profile national park, in hopes of attracting more park-loving tourists to visit Idaho communities like Arco. Gov. Butch Otter backs the proposal.

This article also discusses the smaller San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington, and the concerns that the actions with these 27 monuments opens the door for further actions jeopardizing federal lands, monuments and parks in the future.

“I don’t think anything is safe under this president,” said Washington state Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen, whose district includes the 4-year-old monument, made up of 75 small islands, rocks and pinnacles and a home for orca whales, harbor seals and bald eagles. 
“My concern is that the president wants to get rid of national monuments altogether.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said that Trump’s order could open up thousands of acres of public lands and coastal shores, accusing the president of trying to “exploit lands held in public trust.” 
“Over 100 years of conservation is proposed to be undone in just a few days by President Trump,” Cantwell said in a speech on the Senate floor two weeks ago.

Active Cove 1

BLM: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve Map (as of June 2017) - PDF

To comment on the monument review process (due July 10, 2017):


27 Monuments:




Rubble - National Monuments in Danger:

1962 Addition to the National Monument

Storm Approaching the Craters of the Moon



Management Areas

Management Areas Map





National Geographic:

Among the "Craters of the Moon" (1924)

The Idaho Statesman:

Trump wants national monuments reviewed; Simpson wants Idaho’s Craters left alone (May 11, 2017)

Public News Service:

Inclusion on National Monuments Review Said to "Undermine" Craters of the Moon (May 26, 2017)



Geologic Map of the Craters of the Moon 30’ x 60’ Quadrangle, Idaho

San Juan Islands National Monument:

BLM Lands in the San Juans


BLM on flikr

National Monuments in Danger

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