Trump's new order targets Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, among many others. Image by Bob Wick, BLM.
Under a new Trump executive order, the Interior Department will begin reviewing dozens of America's beloved national monuments with an eye toward rescinding protections for some monuments and downsizing others.
Trump's April 26 order directs the Interior Department to review any monument that protects 100,000 acres or more, going back to 1996 when President Bill Clinton established Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. In all, 24 monuments are at immediate risk under these parameters. However, the order also stipulates that any national monument designated since 1996 could be reviewed, bringing the tally of at-risk monuments closer to 50.
The order attacks monuments that benefit local communities economically and that help preserve America's unique natural and historic legacy. This is a brazen, gloves-off attack on America's beloved National Park System, and we're asking Americans to fight against it.
This map shows the scope of the threat posed by Trump.
Map credit: The Wilderness Society, Marty Schnure
More about the places on the map
Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico. Photo: Mason Cummings.
As the map shows, the monuments under attack include units that protect some of America's most unusual and magnificent wild areas like the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah; Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico; and Gold Butte National Monument, Nev.
Trump's order also includes places that preserve America's historical heritage, such as the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (home to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii) and the Harriet Tubman National Monument in Maryland. It also applies to numerous monuments that commemorate our diverse cultural heritage, such as California's César E. Chávez monument commemorating the labor and civil rights activist, and New York's Stonewall Inn monument commemorating an important part of the LGBTQ movement. Learn more about the 24 monuments at greatest risk.
Our national monuments are so special that it is not uncommon for a monument to be designated later as a national park. This was the case with Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz., Arches National Park, Utah, and more recently Pinnacles National Park in California. If left alone, some of the monuments on our map could also become national parks someday.
Imagine what we would be robbing from future generations of Americans if we allow Trump to chip away at the legacy our monuments safeguard.
Monuments at immediate risk
Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, will be the first monument reviewed and potentially stripped of protections. Image by Bob Wick, BLM.
Trump says his first order of business will be to review the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. President Obama designated Bears Ears in southern Utah in 2016 in response to strong local support. The monument now protects world-class archaeological and paleontology sites, unique areas beloved by climbers and mountain bikers and lands held sacred by local Native American tribes.
Despite local support for the monument, anti-conservationist leaders from Utah, most notably Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who leads the House Natural Resources Committee, protested its creation and have been pushing for a review of Bears Ears since Trump was elected. The same group is responsible for numerous bills and study groups aimed at giving public lands away to the states and undermining the Antiquities Act, the law that empowers presidents to designate monuments.
Trump's order only makes it clear that he has allied with conservation foes in Congress who have been working to sell out our public lands for oil and gas and other development.
Stand up for our monuments! Tell your members of Congress to reject Trump's anti-park attacks.