Photo: Kings Canyon National Park, California. Credit: Mason Cummings
The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Forest Service are already helping to preserve our natural and historical resources, wildlife and native plant habitat in Southern California; but with a strong National Monument Management Plan, there is potential to do so much more! Tell the Forest Service their monument management plan must take decisive steps toward improving access to the San Gabriel Mountains and engaging and educating the millions of people who visit this magnificent place each year.
Already in the current Congress, two dozen bills and amendments threaten to gut and effectively invalidate the Antiquities Act, which was first signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt to protect treasured American lands as national monuments. Outrageously, these radical attacks on new parks and monuments are being pushed during the year of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. Instead of supporting our national parks, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, Congress is instead attempting to gut the law that has protected nearly half of them.
America’s National Forest System contains the largest network of trails in the world and draws roughly 165 million visitors every year. But most of these trails are not in great shape due to a long maintenance backlog, the result of Congress' chronic underfunding. This means that many people can’t access the trails—and when they can, the trails are not always safe.
For decades, Native American tribes and others have been advocating for the protection of a landscape in Utah that is vital to their history and culture, known as Bears Ears. Rampant looting, grave robbing, irresponsible off-road vehicle use, energy development and the destruction of historic structures and rock art threaten the survival of this unique place.
Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation’s last great wild landscapes, and the home of polar bears, wolves and caribou, but the oil industry regularly fights for permission to drill there. Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have pending legislation to designate this amazing place as wilderness and finally protect it once and for all from development threats—but they won’t act unless you demand it.
While Grand Canyon National Park celebrates its 100th birthday, potential uranium mines and logging of old growth ponderosa pine forest just outside the boundary directly threaten water quality, human health, wildlife connectivity and cultural heritage in the area. Rep. Raul Grijalva introduced legislation to protect this special place, but Congress has failed to act on it.
Giant sequoias: the largest trees on earth. Bristlecone pines: the oldest living things. Mount Whitney: the tallest peak in the lower 48. These natural wonders are all found in three spectacular national forests—the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo within California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. And they all have one thing in common: they are protected in wilderness areas. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to conserve even more of these treasures!