What is a "national monument" established by the President?
A “national monument” established by the President protects “objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated on lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government” (54 U.S.C. § 320301, known as the Antiquities Act). If the national monument is administered by the National Park Service (NPS), as many national monuments are, it is subject to the same laws and policies as govern other units of the National Park System. Thus, an NPS national monument established by the President is a protected area similar to a national park, administered for the protection and enjoyment of its resources and values.
How does an area become a national monument?
To be established by the President, the area must meet the criteria of the Antiquities Act (54 U.S.C § 320301), including having objects of historic or scientific interest located on land already owned or controlled by the Federal government. The views of the public are carefully considered in the process. National monuments can also be created by Congress under their own enabling statutes, rather than the Antiquities Act. National monuments can be administered by Federal agencies other than NPS. The Presidential proclamation or Congressionally-enacted statute creating the national monument typically indicates which Federal agency will administer it.
What constitutes the Freedom Riders National Monument?
On Mother’s Day 1961, a Freedom Riders bus was attacked at the Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Anniston, Alabama, and was attacked again and burned just six miles out of town on State Highway 202. The City of Anniston has donated the former Greyhound bus station at 1031 Gurnee Avenue (approximately 0.17 acres) to the National Park Service for the establishment of the monument. Similarly, Calhoun County has donated to the National Park Service the site where segregationists attacked and burned the bus six miles down the road adjacent to State Route 202 (approximately 5.79 acres). Neither the site of the former bus station nor the bus burning site is currently open to the public, but the National Park Service is looking forward to working with the public and partners toward that goal.
What happens now that the area has been designated a national monument?
The National Park Service is beginning to work on the development of a management plan, to ensure that the new national monument preserves the site’s resources and provides for an outstanding visitor experience. The National Park Service’s planning for the new park will be done with full public involvement and in coordination with the City of Anniston, Calhoun County, and other stakeholders. Open houses and public meetings will be held to discuss the management plan and invite the public to share ideas for the future of the monument.
What has to happen before this new national monument will open to the visiting public?
The Greyhound Bus Station is not currently open to the public, nor is the bus burning site an easily accessible public place. Once repairs and restoration activities at the bus station are complete, this resource would likely open to the public for access, education, and interpretation. Similarly, the bus burning site would be protected and interpreted in an appropriate manner in the future.