Legal protections for heritage resources on private and state lands are notably inferior to those on federal lands. It is reasonably foreseeable that heritage resources found on the Forest will increase in value and significance as prehistoric and historic sites in other non-federal ownerships are damaged or destroyed by development or other activities.


Some of the more important federal laws and Forest Service regulations dealing with the management and use of significant heritage resources are:


The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended - Establishes a program for the preservation of prehistoric and historic properties throughout the nation. It makes historic preservation national policy. Section 106 of the Act directs that Federal agencies shall take into account the effects of their actions on heritage resources. Section 110 of the Act directs federal agencies to take responsibility for the preservation and management of heritage resources that are owned or controlled by the agency.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 - Establishes various criminal and civil penalties for the unauthorized removal of antiquities or artifacts from federal property, and /or the damage or destruction of heritage properties on federal lands.

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act - Directs that American Indians shall have reasonable access to federal lands for the purpose of conducting traditional religious ceremonies and collecting traditional ceremonial and medicinal plants and materials. It also requires federal agencies to consult with American Indian tribes regarding proposed undertakings in areas that may be of cultural or spiritual interest to them.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 - Defines the rights of lineal descendents and Indian tribes to Indian skeletal remains and items or artifacts of cultural patrimony that may be held by Federal agencies or institutions.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and National Forest Management Act of 1976 - Require the Forest Service to preserve important prehistoric, historic, cultural and natural aspects of our national heritage.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 - Establishes a higher standard for justifying federal actions that hinder or impact religious liberties, including American Indian religions.

Executive Order 3175 – Directs federal agencies to carry out trust responsibilities and assess the impacts of their actions on Indian trust resources.

Executive Order 13007 Indian Sacred Sites - Directs federal agencies to accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites, avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites and requires consultation with tribes to learn tribal concerns for sacred sites on public lands.

Executive Order 13287 Preserve America - Directs federal agencies to build partnerships with local governments, Indian tribes and the private sector to preserve heritage properties, and promote heritage tourism. Agencies are to improve planning and accountability for heritage properties, assess the current status of heritage properties, track progress in managing heritage properties and improve the stewardship of heritage properties.

Regulation and Policy

The Beaverhead and the Deerlodge National Forest Land Management Plans – Provides overall goals to identify, evaluate, and preserve significant heritage resources to maintain their scientific and historical values. They also specify objectives and standards that apply to the implementation of undertakings proposed for the National Forest that may affect heritage properties.

16 U.S.C. 432-433 – Implements the Antiquities Act of 1906 and gives the Secretary of Agriculture “…jurisdiction over ruins, archaeological sites, historic and prehistoric monuments and structures, objects of antiquity, historic landmarks, and other objects of historic or scientific interest…” on National Forest lands.

36 CFR 60 - Establishes minimum standards and procedures for determining the significance of heritage properties and nominating eligible properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

36 CFR 63 - Establishes criteria for nominating significant historic properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

36 CFR 68 - Establishes the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

36 CFR 79 - Provides direction for the preservation and curation of archaeological collections (and associated records) removed from federal lands.

36 CFR 219.24 - Directs that Forest Planning shall provide for the identification, protection, interpretation and management of significant heritage resources on National Forest lands.

36 CFR 296 - Provides for the protection of archaeological resources and implements the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.

36 CFR 800 - Implements the National Historic Preservation Act and provides explicit direction for the identification of heritage properties, the determination of project effects on heritage properties, requirements for agency consultation with State Historic Preservation Officers and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (Section 106). The regulation also requires federal agencies to develop proactive programs for the stewardship and preservation of heritage properties (Section 110).

43 CFR 10 - Implements the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.


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