As summer approaches and American families plan vacations, one of the top spots for travel consideration is the majestic Grand Canyon.
President Teddy Roosevelt, considered the "conservationist" president, declared the Grand Canyon a monument in 1908. It was made a national park in 1919 by the National Park Service, which was established in 1916.
Roosevelt had a clear understanding of the importance of preserving America's resources -- and the actions of those who would despoil them for monetary gain. He signed the Antiquities Act of 1906. The goal was to create a tool that would allow future presidents to protect the country's historical and natural sites.
Now, calls are out to President Obama to make the "greater" Grand Canyon a national monument. This would encompass approximately 1.7 million acres of public lands surrounding the park.
Why? It is a response to potential encroachment on the gateway to the Grand Canyon.
The debate is about mining, which has been a source of contention for over a century, when land claims were first staked. Older mines that were "validated" went forth. One of those, Canyon Mine, is located six miles south of the Grand Canyon.
Many of the original owners of mining claims shifted their land over to tourist properties. However, there are approximately 3,000 "unvalidated" claims currently on hold under a temporary 20-year ban issued by the Secretary of the Interior in 2012. The impetus was to protect lands from "imminent threat."