Secretary Zinke recommends gutting natural wonders

Sep 17, 2017

Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Copyright Jack Brauer
Statement by Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society on Administration’s recommendations to roll back protections for national monuments

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, responded to reporting by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that the Trump administration rollback protections and significantly alter numerous national monuments, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Katahdin Woods & Waters in Maine, Cascade Siskiyou in Oregon, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico, Gold Butte in Nevada and marine monuments in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans:

“Acting on these recommendations would represent an unprecedented assault on our parks and public lands, and undermine bipartisan progress to protect our lands and waters that dates to Theodore Roosevelt.

“This callous proposal will needlessly punish local, predominantly rural communities that depend on parks and public lands for outdoor recreation, sustainable jobs and economic growth.

“We believe the Trump administration has no legal authority to alter or erase protections for national treasures.  Millions of Americans have voiced their opposition to this scheme to sell out our beloved lands and waters to drilling, mining and logging interests.

“If President Trump acts in support of these recommendations, The Wilderness Society will move swiftly to challenge those actions in court. We urge the President to ignore these illegal and dangerous recommendations and instead act to preserve our natural wonders that are at the core of a great nation.”


On April 26, President Trump signed an executive order that calls for a “review” by the Department of the Interior of national monuments designated since 1996.  Both Republican and Democratic presidents have used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect federal land with natural, historical or cultural significance.

Since the review was announced, millions of comments flooded into the Department of the Interior in support of leaving America’s national monuments as they are. National monuments in every corner of the nation provide countless opportunities for enjoying America’s natural heritage and our outdoor traditions such as hiking, hunting, camping or paddling.  Many of these places hold cultural and historical significance, including sacred lands for Native American tribes, and represent our nation’s diverse population.  


Additional information, photos and video:

Media resources for Trump administration "review" of national monuments

Dispatches from Monumental America: A Listening Tour

Key-Log Economics Report on Public Comments




Kate Mackay, Director - Wildlands Communications