Scott Tipton, who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee, voted to gut the 1906 Antiquities Act, which I find somehow weird. The very first national park created by that Act was Mesa Verde National Park. Before becoming a public servant, Mr. Tipton earned a fortune selling Mesa Verde Pottery to the concessionaire of that park, for whom I also worked at the time. I know darned well that he personally has benefited – hugely – from the tourism dollars stimulated by the Antiquities Act.
He is now backing HR 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop in October, in which the largest protected area allowed would be Yucca House near Cortez. Not Hovenweep – too big. Not the Great Sand Dunes or Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Not any marine national monuments at all, including the northern Hawaiian islands. Not any of the places initially preserved through the Antiquities Act, like the Grand Canyon, or Bryce, or Zion, or Saguaro or Death Valley.
Mr. Tipton well knows tourism contributes more to local coffers than most other rural forms of income. As a man who made millions at Mesa Verde, he should be aware that even small businesses benefit greatly from protecting our natural treasures. Teddy Roosevelt, who signed the Antiquities Act, thought that preserving America’s beautiful landscapes was our “Best Idea,” our answer to the cathedrals and museums of Europe.
May Mr. Tipton be as reverent. Call him today to voice your support for the original 1906 Antiquities Act.