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


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


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.

onEarth Story

Opening up hallowed ground to oil and gas development is quite literally an act of desecration.

Western Dispatch

One of the world’s last pristine wild places is on the front lines of climate change—and threatened by the Trump administration’s determination to open the Arctic to drilling. These photos speak to why we must fight both.

onEarth Story

And every extra day it lasts, the deleterious effects on our national parks, food inspections, and toxic waste cleanups grow bigger (and more difficult to stop).

Rockies Dispatch

Cobalt mining and other interests lay claim to Grand Staircase–Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, rankling local communities tied to these lands.

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.

Greg McFall/NOAA
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.


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.


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

Ian Freimuth
onEarth Story

It’s a neighborhood in Chicago.


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

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