President Trump has ordered a sweeping review of 27 national monuments created since 1996, calling the designation of these sites by previous presidents a “federal land grab” and stating that the goal of the review is “giving power back to the states and people.” Interior secretary Ryan Zinke has stated that the monuments under review could have their federal protections “rescinded” or that the monuments could be “resized or modified,” opening them up to drilling, mining and other development interests.
The monuments under analysis cover millions of acres of protected lands encompassing all types of landscapes from mountains and deserts to canyons and forests across 11 mostly Western states, plus five marine national monuments. While the public comment period for one of the monuments, Bears Ears, has passed, the Interior Department is currently accepting public comments pertaining to the review through July 10. Read on for why these sites are worthy of their title and why you should visit them before they are revoked, and then submit your comments here.
Jay Gentile is a world traveler and freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of publications including SPIN, VICE, Chicago Tribune, Thrillist and Consequence of Sound.