Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Veto of a Bill Abolishing the Jackson Hole National Monument.

December 29, 1944

I have withheld my approval from H. R. 2241, "To abolish the Jackson Hole National Monument as created by Presidential . Proclamation Numbered 2578, dated March 15, 1943."

The effect of this bill would be to deprive the people of the United States of the benefits of an area of national significance from the standpoint of naturalistic, historic, scientific, and recreational values. The Jackson Hole National Monument as established by Proclamation Numbered 2578 constitutes an outstanding example of a valley formed by block-faulting and glacial action, and has as significant a story to tell of these great forces of nature as has the Grand Canyon to reveal of erosive processes. It also constitutes a breeding and feeding ground for rare types of birds and animal life. For many years it was a celebrated rendezvous of trappers and Indians; very few areas of the West preserve as many frontier associations. In addition, it provides the necessary foreground for the great mountain peaks in the adjoining Grand Teton National Park, and in its scenic and geologic characteristics forms an integral part of the whole Grand Teton region.

In issuing the proclamation creating the Jackson Hole National Monument, I followed precedents repeatedly established by my predecessors, beginning with President Theodore Roosevelt, in exercising the authority conferred by Section 2 of the Antiquities Act approved by the Congress on June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225). Eighty-two national monuments have been established by Presidents of the United States of both political parties. Seven of these monuments are larger than the Jackson Hole National Monument. There are few official acts of the President of the United States, in the field of conservation or in any other phase of Government, so amply supported by precedent, as is the proclamation establishing Jackson Hole National Monument. In the light of the legislative history of the Antiquities Act o[ June 8, 1906, and the interpretation placed thereon by the Supreme Court of the United States in Cameron vs. United States (252 U.S. 450), I am convinced that Jackson Hole is an "object of historic or scientific interest" within the meaning of that Act. Therefore, I cannot assent to the position taken by the proponents of H. R. 2241 that the monument reserve should be annulled on the ground that there was no authority for its creation.

The proclamation establishing the Jackson Hole National Monument reserved only the Federal lands within appropriately designated boundaries, and was issued subject to all valid existing rights. As in the case of many other Federal reservations, certain private and State lands are also within the boundaries designated in the proclamation. These lands, which comprise a small fraction of the total acreage, are not affected in any way by the proclamation. They are still in private and State ownership and the rights of the owners are the same as they were before the proclamation was issued. No lands have been or can be confiscated; no citizens have been or can be dispossessed. Moreover, private property and incomes within the monument boundaries remain subject to taxation by the State and county to the same extent as they were before the monument was established.

Soon after Jackson Hole National Monument was created, the Secretary of the Interior issued a policy statement setting forth definite principles to govern the administration of the Federal lands within the monument. This statement provides for the continuance of all permits issued by the Forest Service or other Federal agencies for the use now within the national monument during the lifetime of the present holders and the members of their immediate families. In this statement the Secretary recognized existing grazing privileges on monument lands and existing stock driveway privileges, and declared that cattlemen desiring in the spring and fall to drive their cattle across monument lands, between their respective ranches and the summer ranges, would be permitted to do so as a matter of settled administrative policy.

I recognize the seriousness of the tax problem that might be produced in Teton County, Wyoming, were those lands within the monument boundaries which have been acquired by private interests, for ultimate incorporation in the monument, to be removed from the tax rolls at a time when fully equivalent revenues have not as yet accrued to the County through the development of the tourist attractions of the region. I would be 'sympathetic to the enactment of legislation whereby revenues derived by the Federal Government from the National Park and Monument system could be used to offset, on an equitable basis, any loss of taxes due to the Federal acquisition, by donation or purchase, of private lands within the monument. I would also be sympathetic to the enactment of legislation that would incorporate into law the administrative policies with respect to the private utilization of Federal lands within the monument to which I have already referred. Among other things, such legislation might provide assurance for private landholders within the monument who now have grazing privileges on Federal lands that these privileges will be continued to them, and to their heirs and assigns, so long as the lands to which these privileges are appurtenant remain in private ownership.

In the establishment of the Jackson Hole National Monument consideration was given to the interests of the people of the United States as a whole in order that the area might be preserved and made available to our citizens for the realization of its highest values, including its scenery, its scientific interest, its wildlife, and its history. I believe that whatever reasonable objections may exist to the continuance of the monument can be overcome without depriving this area of the protection to which it is justly entitled under the Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906, and under the other laws relating to national monuments. Therefore, it would seem to me that the proper remedy in this situation is not the undoing of what has been done, but the making of such adjustments as may be appropriate to meet the local conditions.

For these reasons I feel that it is my duty to withhold approval from H. R. 2241.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Veto of a Bill Abolishing the Jackson Hole National Monument. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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