UPDATE: These are the national monuments Trump is targeting

Credit: Gage Skidmore, flickr.

President Trump has ordered "review" of numerous national monuments and the century-old law that protected them, a stunning move to reduce protection for iconic American landscapes.

UPDATE: The Department of the Interior has announced it will soon open a public comment period on recent uses of the Antiquities Act, and listed the national monuments it will review most immediately under Trump's recent executive order:

Basin and Range

Nevada

2015

Bears Ears

Utah

2016

Berryessa Snow Mountain

California

2015

Canyons of the Ancients

Colorado

2000

Carrizo Plain

California

2001

Cascade Siskiyou

Oregon

2000/2017

Craters of the Moon

Idaho

1924/2000

Giant Sequoia

California

2000

Gold Butte

Nevada

2016

Grand Canyon-Parashant

Arizona

2000

Grand Staircase-Escalante

Utah

1996

Hanford Reach

Washington

2000

Ironwood Forest

Arizona

2000

Katahdin Woods and Waters Maine 2016

Mojave Trails

California

2016

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

New Mexico

2014

Rio Grande del Norte

New Mexico

2013

Sand to Snow

California

2016

San Gabriel Mountains

California

2014

Sonoran Desert

Arizona

2001

Upper Missouri River Breaks

Montana

2001

Vermilion Cliffs

Arizona

2000

Marine monuments:    
Marianas Trench CNMI/Pacific Ocean 2009
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Atlantic Ocean 2016
Pacific Remote Islands Pacific Ocean 2009
Papahanaumokuakea Hawaii/Pacific Ocean 2006/2016
Rose Atoll American Samoa/Pacific Ocean 2009

Stay tuned for updates on how we can defend these places


Amid a new flurry of executive orders, including a measure to expand offshore drilling, Trump has directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to examine more than 20 national monuments designated since the beginning of 1996, presumably with an eye toward shrinking their boundaries and reducing protection. 

"In signing this order, Trump is effectively saying that nothing is off the table, including the sacrifice of some of our most sacred parks and historic sites to pay back his fossil fuel-backed allies in Congress." [full quote

This means that dozens of areas encompassing mighty sequoia forests, historic military sites, rare fossil beds and ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins, among many others, are now under attack by the White House


Take action: Call your senators and ask them to REJECT Trump's attack on parks


Among the monuments likely to be under review:

  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah): Per a report published by the Utah Geological Association, "Nowhere else in the world are the rocks and geologic features so well exposed, so brilliantly colored, and so excitingly displayed."
  • Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (Oregon): The first monument whose protection was motivated specifically by the need to preserve biodiversity
  • Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (New Mexico): protects some of the most ecologically significant lands in northern New Mexico, including habitat for elk, bald eagle, peregrine falcon and great horned owl.
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (Maine): includes vital habitat and migration corridors for moose, bear, lynx and Atlantic salmon as well as beloved outdoor recreation spots.
  • Bears Ears National Monument (Utah): Perhaps nowhere in the world are so many well-preserved cultural resources—from ancient ruins to petroglyphs—found within such a striking and relatively undeveloped landscape.   

Browns Canyon National Monument (Colorado). Credit: Mason Cummings (TWS).

Trump shows his true colors on conservation

Trump appears to be acceding to the demands of extreme members of Congress who oppose protections for our parks and public lands. This anti-public lands fringe want to make it much harder to use the Antiquities Act to protect national monuments, and even seeks to tear down existing monuments—notably Utah's Bears Ears, considered a textbook case for monument designation, whose wealth of ancient ruins, petroglyphs and other cultural sites was damaged by looting, vandalism and even grave-robbing before President Obama moved to protect it in 2016. 

Signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act authorizes presidents to protect important archaeological, historic and scientific resources on public lands. It has been used on a bipartisan basis by almost every president, a method supported by some 90 percent of voters that forms the backbone of our National Park System. Trump's executive order symbolizes a profound break with America's conservation legacy.   

Carrizo Plain National Monument (California). Credit: Bob Wick (BLM).

"Trump once claimed to follow the example of Teddy Roosevelt, but he has long since shown his true colors as an anti-conservationist," said Dan Hartinger, deputy director of parks and public lands defense at The Wilderness Society. "In signing this order, Trump is effectively saying that nothing is off the table, including the sacrifice of some of our most sacred parks and historic sites to pay back his fossil fuel-backed allies in Congress." 

"Introducing this uncertainty and encouraging the removal of protections for these places not only robs the American people of our history but it also hurts local communities today that rely on these monuments for economic benefits, jobs, tourism and quality of life," added Hartinger. 

"Public lands takeover" by another name 

Trump previously went on the record as wanting to keep public lands in public hands, seeming to repudiate the ascendant "land takeover" fringe in state legislatures and the halls of Congress. His choice to head the Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has been an outspoken defender of keeping public lands in public hands. 

But behind closed doors, Trump expressed support for the "land takeover" movement. And in his new executive order, we see what can only be considered an oblique strike at the idea of national public lands that belong to all Americans. Once public lands protections are reversed or weakened, it could open these places up for development. 

Polling consistently shows that people love monuments, parks and other shared places—an affection that the most recent release of National Park Service visitor data resoundingly underscores—and Trump's action runs totally counter both to that tradition and his pretensions to represent the interests of ordinary Americans.

Bears Ears National Monument (Utah). Credit: Mason Cummings (TWS).

Hawaii/Pacific Ocean

 

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