Protecting Public Lands

Illustration by Kendall Guillemette

Many of us who live in the West are outdoor nature lovers. We like to hike, paddle, bike, camp, ski and climb. We like to get out in it and get dirty. Those of us with kids like them to get out there with us. We want to pass on our love for it all to those we love most because that’s what you do with love. We play together outdoors — adults and children alike.

Most weekends our family is on the water or hitting a trail. We’ve gotten to know our favorite natural areas the way others get to know the neighborhood they live in or wish they lived in. Hiking along a populated trail we take our turns stepping to the side and greeting those passing us or even on occasion chatting and striking up a friendship. We love the natural places we explore and become attached to them, the way some other folks get attached to man made creations that they own. One of the the things I love most about the natural places we explore is that they are owned by none of us, individually, because they are owned by all of us, collectively. They are there equally for all, simply for the sake of enriching the lives of anyone who seeks it out.

This is especially true of National Monuments. Each of these places were fought for and protected, for the People.They are protected places where our country’s goodness and values prevail. History, culture, adventure, and nature are the very fabric of these monuments. When we stand up for these places and protect them we are saying that there are things that are more important than business. Our minds, our souls, our collective stories, and the stories of the Earth have worth that can’t be bought.

This land is our land.

Public lands are owned by the People, for the People. Our bodies, minds and spirits are nourished here. While millions of Americans benefit from the protection of these lands, an alarming few will benefit if that protection is stripped away. That is not a decision for the People.

There are currently over a hundred National Monuments. While all of them are under review, public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington are being specifically targeted including Bears Ears and the Grand Canyon.

We have until July 9th to send comments to the Department of the Interior voicing our support for the protection of National Monuments. Join us in standing up for our land. Send a letter to the Secretary of the Interior urging the protection of Public Lands and to protect the integrity of the Antiquities Act, which has been used by Presidents of both parties for over 100 years. And if you feel inclined get out there in the next week and enjoy a National Monument near you, take pictures and share it with those you love. Ask them to help you protect it. Because that’s what you do when you love something.

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