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Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to defend our national monuments

Experts & Resources

These Lands Were Made for You and Me
Helen O'Shea

Alamy

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke submitted his recommendations to the White House today on potential changes to 27 national monuments.

Six of California’s monuments could be rolled back in this unprecedented and illegal attack on our public lands: Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Cascade Siskiyou, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, and San Gabriel Mountains.

These lands are your lands. They are not for the benefit of a few individuals or corporations who want to profit from developing them. These lands are where families camp and hike and fish and learn about the Golden State’s natural and human history. These lands, quite literally, “were made for you and me,” to quote Woody Guthrie. They were designated as monuments by former presidents of both parties using the powers granted them under the Antiquities Act.

And 98% of Americans who submitted comments asked that protections be kept in place, not swept aside by an illegitimate review process. Secretary Zinke has sent a report and recommendation to the White House, but it won't be available to the public at any time before President Trump takes action. This flies in the face of the public process that designated these spectacular monuments in the first place, and it is utterly unacceptable.

The nation, especially the 2.7 million Americans who took time out of their busy lives to participate in this process, are left in the dark by today's announcement by Secretary Zinke. The Secretary himself recognizes that the comments received were “overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments.” His recommendations should not roll back or diminish any Monument protections, but if they do, we will absolutely fight back.

Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Cascade Siskiyou, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, and San Gabriel Mountains National Monuments are part of our children’s heritage and their children’s after them. They create jobs for local communities and draw tourists from around the world. They are a bulwark against the damaging effect of climate change already impacting California.

Our public lands are truly one of “America’s best ideas” and one that we will stand up to protect at every turn, in California and across the country. 

America's Monuments: Worth the Fight
Report
Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Tim Peterson

Bears Ears in Utah. Giant Sequoia in California. Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England in the Atlantic Ocean. Papahānaumokuākea in Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean. These are among our most cherished national treasures. Each monument is a testament to America’s shared history, common values, and natural and cultural heritage.

Yet these monuments are now in the crosshairs of the Trump administration, which intends to shrink or eliminate them altogether, and open some to oil and gas drilling, uranium and coal mining, and other commercial extraction. President Trump does not have the legal authority to do this, but he and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have launched a sham review of the monuments, intended to pave the way for their exploitation by extractive industries, including fossil fuels.

This report highlights what's at stake and why each of these precious monuments deserves the protection conferred since 1996 by previous presidents. As the administration reviews monuments across the nation, two at the very center of its bull’s-eye are Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the North Atlantic. These—and all our national monuments—are in urgent need of our protection.

Explore this interactive map to discover America’s monuments and the value they bring to the country.

These monuments are among our most cherished national treasures. They are in urgent need of our protection.
Voices
Trump’s Attack on Our National Treasures
By attempting to exploit our national monuments, the Trump administration is threatening America’s past—and future.

When you think of America, our country's vast, beautiful public lands and diverse heritage are what come to many people's minds. Americans overwhelmingly love their national parks and monuments—it’s not only about preserving untouched lands and wildlife; it’s about protecting our history. Here, four individuals from across the United States remind us what’s at stake in the fight to save our national treasures.


San Gabriel Mountains

California

To civil rights attorney Robert Garcia, the San Gabriel Mountains, just north of Los Angeles, are a source of joyful childhood memories. If the Trump administration shrinks or eliminates our national monuments, it will “violate the will of the people” and rob communities, particularly the underserved, of those experiences.


Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

New Mexico

Archaeologist Angel Peña explains how communities and their stories are preserved, like a “history book,” within Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and other national monuments. That’s why access to, and protection of, public lands is important for everyone—including his little girl. 


African Burial Ground

New York

Audrey Peterman, a park conservationist, describes how the African Burial Ground preserves hallowed space in a city where real estate is the most valuable resource. The Trump administration’s attempt to strip protections from our national monuments means we could lose the stories of people “forgotten”—forever.


Gold Butte

Nevada

The stunning colors and incredible serenity of Gold Butte, with its ancient rock art and rich wildlife, are just part of what draws former BLM employee Hillerie Patton back to this national monument. It’s the protections currently in place that preserve its peaceful qualities for everyone.


Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

onEarth Story

The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

onEarth Story

The interior secretary’s proposal to hand over park management to private companies has riled up some very unhappy campers.

onEarth Story

Why are there so many names for legally protected waterways? And what do they all mean?

onEarth Story

Donald Trump’s choice to head the Interior Department says he opposes giving away America’s wilderness. But he voted to make doing so much, much easier.

Victory

After years of work by NRDC and its partners, about 5,000 square miles of ocean—with massive canyons, majestic underwater mountains, and more than 1,000 species—have received permanent protection.

Policy Primer

If we don’t address these increasingly severe threats, America’s most treasured lands might soon be unrecognizable.

Victory

Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah will protect some of America’s most striking landscape—and its earliest history.

onEarth Story

It’s a neighborhood in Chicago.

Explainer

Now deemed national monuments, these natural beauties will be protected for generations.

Voices
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks: Something for Everyone
For archaeologist Angel Peña, this national monument is more than just home to cultural and geological artifacts—it’s where memories and history are made.

The following is a transcript of the video:

Angel Peña, archaeologist and Rio Bravo regional director, Conservation Lands Foundation, Las Cruces, New Mexico: One of my first memories of being in the Organ Mountains is with my daughter, who's now nine years old. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is so special for me and her, my little girl, because we're learning at the same time, together.

When you're trying to look for something to do with your family that doesn't cost a lot of money, going outside to play is not only really cheap, but it's where memories are made.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is made up of four different parts. The Organ Mountains create the backdrop for Las Cruces, and they're in just about every painting or picture you'll see of our little town.

The Las Uvas and the Robledos section of the monument is really where the dense cultural resources are, where all the archeology is. Potrillo lava flows, which, you know, contains some geological formation, these rocks are just a picture in time, frozen.

And then you have the Doña Anas, which is set aside and used primarily by our off-road community. There's a little bit of everything for everyone.

Our most current threat to the national monument is by this administration and their blatant attack on our traditions and our heritage. They're trying to take that away from us right now to release these lands from the public to be sold off at the highest bidder.

Our national monument is important to all Americans because it really is like a history book, right, that you can walk in and touch and experience and learn from.

Our community is at stake. The stories that make southern New Mexicans so proud would be lost.

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

onEarth Story

The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Voices

As America’s national monuments come under attack by President Trump, Los Angeleno Robert Garcia shares the story of his personal connection to San Gabriel.

onEarth Story

The interior secretary’s proposal to hand over park management to private companies has riled up some very unhappy campers.

onEarth Story

Why are there so many names for legally protected waterways? And what do they all mean?

Victory

After years of work by NRDC and its partners, about 5,000 square miles of ocean—with massive canyons, majestic underwater mountains, and more than 1,000 species—have received permanent protection.

Explainer

Now deemed national monuments, these natural beauties will be protected for generations.

Action Figure

Half a century later, a parent of the environmental justice movement is still standing up for low-income communities in the Southwest.

Policy Primer

This month’s National Park Service centennial presents an opportunity to create a parks system that is reflective of—and accessible to—all Americans.

Personal Action

These iconic American vacation spots will soon become unrecognizable—or worse, vanish. Pack your bags, quick!

Voices

As our national monuments come under attack by Trump, park conservationist Audrey Peterman reminds us that protecting our monuments is also about protecting the legacy of America’s people.

Voices

Former BLM employee Hillerie Patton describes this Nevada landscape as the essence of “This Land is Our Land”—and how preserving wildlife, archaeological sites, and recreation is about quality of life.

Voices

The Trump administration’s review of national monuments threatens America’s culture and natural beauty.

Letters of support for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
Letter

A selection of public comment letters submitted in support of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

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