THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE: A NEW NATIONAL MONUMENT TO PRESERVE ANCIENT SEQUOIAS April 15, 2000
President Clinton, in a trip today to the Sequoia National Forest in California's Sierra Nevada, will sign a proclamation creating the Giant Sequoia National Monument. This 328,000-acre monument will ensure lasting protection for 34 groves of ancient sequoias, the largest trees on Earth. Speaking one week before the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, the President also will call on Congress to approve his Lands Legacy Initiative, which would provide record funding to protect other natural and historic treasures, and secure permanent funding to continue these efforts in the years ahead.
A Century of Lands Stewardship. In 1906, Congress passed the Antiquities Act, authorizing the President to create national monuments on federal land to protect "objects of historic and scientific interest." All but three Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt have used the Act to protect natural and historic treasures.
These areas include Death Valley and Muir Woods in California; Glacier Bay, Misty Fjords, and Admiralty Island in Alaska; the Grand Tetons in Wyoming; portions of Washington's Olympic Peninsula in Washington; and Utah's Bryce and Zion canyons. More than 100 monuments have been designated in 24 states and the Virgin Islands, protecting some 70 million acres, about 10 percent of all federal lands.
Preserving the Ancient Giants of the Sierra Nevada. Giant sequoias - which can grow more than 300 feet tall and 30 feet across, and live more than 3,000 years - once thrived across western North America. Today only about 70 groves survive, all on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Twenty-five groves are permanently protected in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks. Another 34 groves are found in the Sequoia National Forest. In January, saying he wanted "to ensure that these majestic cathedral groves are protected for future generations," President Clinton asked Agriculture Secretary Glickman to recommend whether to achieve this protection under the Antiquities Act. On the Secretary's recommendation, the President today will sign a proclamation that:
President Clinton has created four other national monuments - Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Agua Fria in Arizona, and the California Coastal monument - and has expanded the Pinnacles monument in California. With these actions, the President has protected more land as national monuments in the lower 48 states than any president in history.
A Permanent Lands Legacy for America. In FY 2000, the President secured $652 million, a 42 percent increase, for his Lands Legacy initiative. For FY 2001, the President is proposing $1.4 billion, the largest one-year investment ever in conserving America's land and coastal resources. In addition, the President is proposing a new, protected budget category to preserve this higher level of funding in future years. More than half this dedicated funding would be used to support state and local conservation efforts.