Yesterday, President Trump visited Salt Lake City to officially announce his decision to drastically reduce the size of two national monuments; public land surrounding Bears Ears National Monument will be cut by over 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about 45%.
And in just 60 days, that land will open to private interests, like drilling and mining.
This decision comes after the public submitted over 3 million comments to their elected officials, overwhelmingly in support of protecting this public land.
Collectively, over 2 million acres will lose protection, including sacred Native American sites, if Trump’s decision is upheld.
Outdoor Industry Reacts in Protest to Public Land Reductions
Patagonia and REI struck different tones on their home pages, the day of Trump’s decision. But both brands are committed to advocating for the protection of public places.
Thousands gathered on the steps of the state Capitol in Salt Lake City to protest the reductions.
The Trust for Public Land calls this an “attack on all national monuments,” and urges the public to join them in defending these lands.
Members of the outdoor industry, from weekend campers and small business owners to professional athletes and big brands, have demonstrated a collective support of public lands in the lead up to this decision. Yesterday, we saw a swift response to the announcement; there’s been anger, sadness, and disappointment, but also relentless dedication to continuing this conversation and supporting America’s beloved outdoor spaces.
The reduction of these protected monuments is particularly troublesome for Native American tribes who consider portions of this public land to be sacred. A group of tribes, including the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, the Navajo Nation and the Ute Indian tribes, have already come together to take legal action, alleging that the reduction to Bears Ears is in violation of the Antiquities Act, as well as unconstitutional.
Ethel Branch, attorney general of the Navajo Nation, encourages President Trump to, “take off his shoes and socks and feel the dirt with his toes, to reconnect and feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth.”
The environmental group Earth Justice also filed a lawsuit against President Trump, just hours after the announcement.
What Can We Do Now?
If you’re unhappy with President Trump and his administration’s decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, there is still plenty of work to be done.
- Encourage your elected officials to continue protecting public lands. You can write them via this form from Outdoor Industry, call, or tweet.
- Contribute to the Kickstarter for a Bears Ears Education Center.
- Donate to Bears Ears Coalition, created by leaders of five tribes to conserve the landscape of Bears Ears National Monument.
- Donate to The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit that works to create and protect parks for the public to enjoy. If you donate before 12/31, your gift will be matched by a generous donor.
- Follow Outdoor Industry’s Advocacy Page for the latest developments.