Our Public Lands Aren’t for Sale

TELL THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO PROTECT OUR PUBLIC LANDS

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is seeking comments from the public as they decide the fate of more than 11 million acres of public land situated across a dozen states. The lands in question were established over a span of 21 years by three presidents on both sides of the party line. The current administration has directed the DOI, headed by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, to evaluate 27 National Monuments, including the San Gabriel Mountains in California, Bears Ears in Utah, and Craters of the Moon right here in Idaho. Many of the National Monuments face significant downsizing, and the DOI could also repeal designations in their entirety, though Zinke has not yet indicated whether the Department will pursue full repeal of any Monument.

Each of the Monuments under review is home to countless national treasures. Among them giant sequoias, unbridled rivers, critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals (and tons of other endangered species), ancient cliff dwellings, sacred sites for First Nation tribes, and unsurpassed opportunities for outdoor recreation. Like all public lands, our country’s National Monuments are a testament to our collective heritage and a reflection of our most closely held values. These protected places represent the efforts of people from all walks of life who, in many cases, fought long uphill battles to preserve the natural and cultural cornerstones of their communities. That many of the Monuments included in the review are also home to natural gas, oil, and coal deposits is likely not coincidental. 

While the argument can be made that reclassifying public lands will spur economic growth through natural resource extraction, the fact remains that any such economic benefit comes with an expiration date. Once mines have been exhausted of minerals, the flow of revenue stops. Moreover, many of these activities leave behind a wake of costly environmental damage that requires long-term remediation efforts. Such efforts too often become the financial burden of local communities, if remediation is ever completed at all. 

As a company in the Outdoor Industry, we can testify that public lands already fuel a sustainable economy. Dollars generated by outfitter-guides, outdoor gear sales, and tourism don’t expire. Lone Cone advocates for public lands for this reason, as well as because supporting public lands supports outdoor recreation, meaningful connections with the world beyond our own four walls, and the preservation of these opportunities for future generations. Our business philosophy is centered around fulfilling our moral obligation to those who will come after us. Fighting for the continued integrity of our National Monuments is just one more way we do that.

Meet the 27 National Monuments whose futures hang in the balance.

Nevada

Basin and Range
Gold Butte

New Mexico

Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks
Rio Grande del Norte

Oregon

Cascade Siskiyou

Utah

Bears Ears
Grand Staircase-Escalante

Washington

Hanford Reach

Arizona

Grand Canyon-Parashant
Ironwood Forest
Sonoran Desert
Vermillion Cliffs

Colorado

Canyons of the Ancients

Idaho

Craters of the Moon

Maine

Katahadin Woods and Waters

Montana

Upper Missouri River Breaks

In addition to the 22 land-based National Monuments, five marine National Monuments are under review in accordance with the Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy executive order:

Marianas Trench
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts
Pacific Remote Islands
Papahanaumokuakea
Rose Atoll

Please join Lone Cone in standing up for our National Monuments by submitting your comments to the DOI by mail or online before July 10th.

Address written comments to:

Monument Review
MS-1530
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Online comments can be submitted via regulations.gov using this link. You can also comment via the portal created by Monuments for All, a nonpartisan organization that will deliver comments in bulk.

Some things to keep in mind…

  • Be specific. Make sure to mention your beloved Monument (or Monuments) by name.
  • Get personal. Share a story that demonstrates what these public lands mean to you, your family, or your community. After all, politicians are people, too, and personal stories appeal to both emotional and intellectual sensibilities in a way form letters do not.
  • Be original. Using a template may save time, but it’s not as impactful as a rich tapestry of voices, each with a unique perspective on the value of our National Monuments and other public lands.

In addition to sending in our comments, Lone Cone will join other outdoor organizations for the This Land is Our Land March for Public Lands in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 27th. Team Cone will participate in a peaceable march to the Utah State Capitol, where a pledge will be delivered and speakers will address the value of public lands to all Americans.

For information about the threats facing our public lands and more ideas for how you can help, visit the Trust for Public Land at tpl.org.