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Obama Expands Cascade Siskiyou National Monument

Barely a week before leaving office, President Obama has used a law originally signed by Theodore Roosevelt to roughly double the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern Oregon.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish the Cascade-Siskiyou monument. It was meant to protect the unique and diverse ecosystems formed at the convergence of the Cascade, Siskiyou and Klamath mountain ranges.

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have been pushing to expand the monument. Now, President Obama has agreed.

Dave Willis is with the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, a conservation group that welcomes the expansion.

“Scientists had determined that the original monument boundaries didn’t do the job that the original proclamation intended,” he says.

Willis says growing population and development pressure – plus climate change – made more comprehensive protection necessary.

There’s a total of more than 50,000 acres of private land within the new and existing monument boundaries. Jerome Rosa, with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, predicts that, despite assurances from the government, local landowners will lose their livelihoods.

“Eventually, over time, all the grazing rights will be eliminated off of these properties,” he says.

The Cascade-Siskiyou monument expansion was one of five monument designations around the nation that Obama announced Thursday. He has now used that authority more times than any previous president.

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.