Today, on behalf of The Trust for Public Land and its many volunteers and supporters, I am registering our concern with President Trump’s executive order to review certain monument designations.

Our public lands and waters help define who we are as a nation by telling the story of our historical, cultural, and natural heritage. This attempt to roll back protections for national monuments is unprecedented and terribly misguided. Secretary Zinke, we strongly urge you to reject efforts to eliminate or shrink our national monuments.

The Trust for Public Land has worked over many years to protect important conservation lands at several national monuments currently under review and we have worked to ensure public land protection at other recently created monuments including California Coastal, Stonewall, Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers and Pullman. Our experience was always positive, with strong community support and engagement. In California, for example, the impetus for the the Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow national monuments began with came from Mojave Desert residents and business leaders, who organized for years in support of them.

The Antiquities Act has been used well by Presidents throughout our history for important and lasting public land protection. This current review is clearly aimed at undermining presidential authority under the Act. Should this result lead to reversals of current protection, those steps will have lasting negative impact and threaten many protected areas for generations to come.

Regarding the expedited review of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, we question the need for this condensed timeline but urge you, Secretary Zinke, to retain the monument’s current status. That area’s priceless…