BEND, Ore. (April 26, 2017) – President Trump today signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monument designations larger than 100,000 acres from the past 21 years to determine whether their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. This is an unprecedented move that has the potential to reduce in size some of the most spectacular landscapes managed by the federal government. The order itself does not make changes to any monuments, but it sets in motion an appraisal of monuments designated by three previous Presidents with the implication that some of them should be reduced in size.
The Conservation Alliance opposes any effort to change the boundaries of existing national monuments through executive action. National monuments designated since 1996 protect landscapes with important recreation, cultural, and habitat values. During the Obama presidency, The Conservation Alliance worked closely with our member companies to demonstrate outdoor business support for protecting new national monuments. These monuments preserve important recreation amenities that benefit all Americans.
Trump’s order affects at least 24 national monuments designated by Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton. The Conservation Alliance supported the efforts to establish many of those landscapes, bringing our members’ funding and voices to bear on preserving places with important recreation and habitat values.
In announcing the forthcoming review of national monuments, Secretary Zinke said that he will make a recommendation on the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument within 45 days, and issue a final report with recommendations on all 24 monuments within 120 days.
The outdoor industry came together in 2016 to advocate strongly for the Bears Ears designation. The Bears Ears landscape is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history, archaeological sites, and recreation opportunities. The boundaries closely mirror those proposed in Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative legislation. We’re confident that any credible review of the Bears Ears designation will confirm the boundaries are more than justified.
It is not clear whether the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on Secretary Zinke’s review. Before signing it, Trump called the order an attempt to “give power back to the states and to the people.” But the order itself directs Zinke to consult with appropriate Cabinet secretaries, Governors, and other state and local government officials. The order does not require any public process. We urge Secretary Zinke to give the public the opportunity to participate in this review, and to make the review as transparent as possible.
In an ironic twist, Trump signed the order one day after the Outdoor Industry Association released its updated Outdoor Recreation Economy study, which shows that outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, and supports 7.6 million jobs in the U.S. Protected public lands, including national monuments, are important economic drivers, particularly in rural Western communities that attract new residents and visitors drawn to outdoor recreation opportunities. Outdoor recreation is a huge economic engine, and national monuments fuel that engine.
We believe that any serious review of national monuments will conclude that these are special lands and waters, beloved by millions of Americans for their cultural, recreation, and habitat values. The Conservation Alliance will work closely with our member companies and our partners in the outdoor industry to engage in this issue, and to demonstrate to political leaders the important role national monuments play in the outdoor recreation economy.
Together, we have made huge investments in our national monuments. We hope you will join us in protecting that investment. Please stay tuned for more details and opportunities to take action as this issue develops.
About The Conservation Alliance:
The Conservation Alliance is an organization of like-minded businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas. Membership in the Alliance is open to all companies who care about protecting our most threatened wild places for habitat and outdoor recreation. Since its inception in 1989, The Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $18 million, awarded 552 grants, helped to protect more than 50 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,991 miles of rivers; stop or remove 29 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 12 climbing areas. For complete information on The Conservation Alliance, see: www.conservationalliance.com.