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Rockhound Soap Box
American Lands Access Association
John Martin
September 1, 2016

National Monuments have been on the minds of many amateur collectors of rocks and minerals for personal and educational uses.  When National Monuments are created whether by legislation or by Presidential Edict, removal of any Biological, Geological, Archeological, Paleontological and Historical items becomes a Federal Felony.   There are of course exceptions as has been seen in California in the Mojave Trails National Monument where intervention, by oversight, from Senator Feinstein, Recreational Rockhounding has been given a temporary exception until the formal Monument Management Plan is finalized.  Future National Monuments will not allow Recreational Rockhounding unless the Monument Management Plans expressly allow for this activity.  The only way Recreational Rockhounding will be allowed is if there is a united effort by all Amateur Rock and Mineral Collectors to make their voices and actions recognized by the government land managers, legislative bodies and executive office responsible for the creation of the monuments.  The list below is a proposal of new National Monuments, some are going through the legislative process but most are being proposed to be created by Executive Orders.  As can be read below not all proposed National monuments are only in the west. Several are proposed in the mid west and eastern United States.  Will the creation of these monuments have an adverse effect on our Recreational Rockhounding?  If there are any collecting areas with in the proposed National Monuments, the answer is a definite YES and only you, the Recreational Rockhound, can influence this political action.  The future of Rockhounding is in your hands, so you must get involved in the process to save your hobby for present and future generations of Rockhounds. 

Maine Woods. Maine The Maine Woods is the largest expanse of intact forest east of the Rocky Mountains.

Rocky Mountain Front. Montana The Rocky Mountain Front is south of Glacier National Park and west of Great Falls, Montana.

Boulder-White Clouds. Idaho. The Boulder and White Cloud Mountains of Idaho rise just north of Sun Valley and Ketchum.

Owyhee Canyonlands. Oregon The Owyhee Canyonlands have been proposed as national park or monument in the past.

Cascade Siskiyou Expansion. Oregon The current 62,000 acre Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) was created by President Bill Clinton in 2000. It was one of his leaving office, national monument presents to the American people, and now many feel the borders should be expanded.

Sonoran Desert additions. Arizona There two proposed National Conservation Areas (NCA) proposed for the Sonoran Desert west of Phoenix—the Belmont Harquahala NCA and the Gila Bend NCA.

Vermillion Basin, Colorado. The Vermillion Basin, located in northwest Colorado, is sometimes billed as Colorado’s loneliest corner.

Valles Caldera, New Mexico The 89,000-acre Valles Caldera northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of the largest calderas in the world and is an excellent example of a caldera advanced in history but still retaining its essential structures.

Greater Hart-Sheldon, Nevada and Oregon The Greater Hart-Sheldon Wildlands is a vast, remote land of scenic sagebrush-dominated landscapes.

Sisiyou Wild Rivers, Oregon The Siskiyou Wild Rivers area is located in the southwest corner of Oregon and northwest California. In total more than a million acres of Forest Service and BLM lands encompass one of the highest concentrations of free-flowing rivers left in the US.

Gold Butte, Nevada Gold Butte is the name of a large area of desertlands managed by the BLM that lies east of Las Vegas between the Grand Canyon/Parashant National Monument, Arizona, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, just south of the City of Mesquite.

Hidden Gems, Colorado The Hidden Gems are proposed wilderness areas primarily on the White River National Forest in Colorado. Legislation has been introduced by Senator Mark Udall and is companion legislation to a bill submitted by Congressman Jared Polis.

Browns Canyon, Colorado Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River near Salida and Buena Vista Colorado is a popular area for whitewater rafting and kayaking.

Big Bend Marine Reserve, Florida The Big Bend of Florida’s Gulf Coast is one of the most pristine and least developed in the state. Stretching from Florida’s panhandle, it includes the area around Apalachee Bay, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico.

Greater Canyonlands Utah is the heart of some of Utah’s canyon country’s wildest corners. The original proposal for Canyonlands National Park was far greater than the acreage that finally was designated but there is still an opportunity to correct this deficiency. Counting 1.8 million acres of surrounding unroaded BLM lands adjacent to it, Greater Canyonlands remains one of the largest roadless areas left in the lower 48 states.

The Bears Ears are a pair of buttes located in San Juan County in the southeastern Utah. The Bears Ears are bordered on the west by Dark Canyon Wilderness and Beef Basin, on the east by Comb Ridge and on the north by Indian Creek and Canyonlands National Park. Rising 2,000 feet (610 m) above Cedar Mesa to the south, the Bears Ears reach 8,700 feet (2,700 m) in elevation and are named for their resemblance to the ears of a bear emerging from the horizon.

The Bodie Hills are a low mountain range in Mono County, California, is where the mining district and town of Bodie, California is located. The Hills are between Bridgeport and the Nevada border, where they become the Bodie Mountains in Mineral County, Nevada. The Sierra Nevada (U.S.) Range towers to the west.

One last note, The President just created the largest National Monument in the history of the United States in the state of Hawaii.  The monument is larger than Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona combined.  Though it is a marine monument and traditional Rockhound as we know it, is not a real problem for the average American Recreational Rockhound, it still remains that no collecting of any kind from inside its boundaries.  This monument will have current and future impact on the lives of the residents and visitors of the state of Hawaii.   
Happy Rockhounding and Enjoy Your Public Lands