Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing Five Proclamations Adding Lands to the National Park System.

January 20, 1969

I AM HAPPY to be able to dedicate this portion of the public domain to the purposes of conservation. The areas I have chosen are not large--but they are superb landmarks of major historic and scientific interest, and action is needed now to insure that this land is put to its finest use.

A number of additional national monument proposals were presented to me for consideration by the Secretary of the Interior. They include the Sonorian Desert area in Arizona, an enlargement of the Mount McKinley National Park in Alaska, and the creation of a vast new park area above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Each would be an exciting addition to our park system.

After a careful review of these proposals, I have concluded that it would not be desirable to take Executive action for the acquisition of this land in the last few days of my term. The proposals include over 7 million acres--an enormous increase in our total park holdings. I believe the taking of this land--without any opportunity for congressional study--would strain the Antiquities Act far beyond its intent and would be poor public policy. Understandably, such action, I am informed, would be opposed by leading Members of Congress having authority in this field who have not had the opportunity to review or pass judgment on the desirability of the taking.

Under these circumstances, I have directed the Secretary of the Interior to submit these additional proposals to the Interior Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives for their consideration as new national parks. I hope the committees will see fit to give the proposed areas careful study at the earliest possible time.

Note: The President's statement was made public as part of a White House release announcing that the five proclamations would add approximately 300,000 acres of Federal lands to the National Park System, bringing the total number of acres to 28.5 million. The release also noted that on December 19, 1968, the President had approved the filing of applications for public land orders which would add more than 1,280,000 acres to the National Wildlife Refuge System (5 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 137).

The five proclamations signed by the President on January 20, 1969, are as follows: Proclamation 3887, "Enlarging the Arches National Monument, Utah"; Proclamation 3888, "Enlarging the Capitol Reef National Monument, Utah"; Proclamation 3889, "Establishing Marble Canyon National Monument, Arizona"; Proclamation 3890, "Enlarging the Katmai National Monument, Alaska"; Proclamation 3891, "Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Park" (5 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., pp. 138-142; 34 F.R. 905-913; 3 CFR, 1969 Comp.).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing Five Proclamations Adding Lands to the National Park System. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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