BILLINGS, Mont. — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended changes to some existing national monuments, including shrinking their size and allowing more uses such as mining, fishing and logging.
He’s also recommending President Donald Trump create three new monuments in Montana, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Here’s some background on the sites Zinke says merit protection under the Antiquities Act of 1906:
The area spans approximately 203 square miles (526 square kilometers) within the Lewis and Clark National Forest in northwest Montana. Badger-Two Medicine is the site of the creation story of the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada. It’s bordered by the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. For more than two decades, a Louisiana-based oil and gas company, Solenex, has sought to drill for oil and gas on a federal lease it holds within the proposed monument.
MEDGAR EVERS’ HOME
Evers, who lived in Jackson, Mississippi, was the first field secretary for the NAACP and organized boycotts over segregation statewide during the civil rights movement. He was killed by a gunshot to the back on June 12, 1963, as he returned home from a meeting with NAACP lawyers. A local Ku Klux Klan member, Byron De La Beckwith, was arrested for Evers’ murder, but juries twice deadlocked on the case. Beckwith remained free until new evidence three decades later helped lead to his conviction in 1994. Evers’ home was designated as a National Historic Landmark in February.
On about 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) near Nicholasville, Kentucky, Camp Nelson was established in 1863 as a 700-bed Union Army hospital, supply depot and recruiting center for African-American troops in the state. A cemetery, known today as Camp Nelson National Cemetery, was later built to take the many wounded soldiers who died in the camp’s unsanitary conditions. The Army also built a refugee camp for family members of freed slaves who trained at Camp Nelson. As many as 8,000 troops garrisoned the camp at any one time. After the war, much of the land returned to farming and almost all its 300 buildings were sold for lumber, leaving only the refugee camp and the cemetery, according to the National Park Service.