Executive Order Targets Two Decades of Public Lands Protections

A new executive order calls into question national monument designations and raises concerns about the future of the Antiquities Act.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
April 26, 2017
Executive Order Targets Two Decades of Public Lands Protections

Today, an Executive Order was issued calling for the review of national monument designations dating back to 1996. Under the 1906 Antiquities Act presidents from both parties have used national monuments to conserve lands across the country. The order effectively brings that authority into question for the past three presidents.

This executive order is a red flag for The Mountaineers. Not only is this a national concern for the future of conservation laws and public lands, but regionally it could influence recreational use in two beloved Washington state National Monuments. This order also threatens our nation's recreation economy, which generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually. Additionally we are concerned that this Executive Order may be the first step in undermining the Antiquities Act, the legislation that authorizes National Monuments. 

As we continue our work in defending our public lands, we’re thankful for our partners across the country and lawmakers, like Senator Cantwell, who’s already hit the Senate floor to defend national moments (and rock climbing!).

You can use the link below to tell Department of Interior Secretary Zinke and President Trump how important public lands are to you. You’ll find more on the order below.

Update: Thank you to everyone who joined us in submitting comments in support of Bears Ears.  The official comment period has ended. We will keep you updated on news and action opportunities as the review process progresses.

Standing with Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears

The first monuments under review are Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears in Utah. These areas embody The Mountaineers’ conservation vision, as the processes to designate them brought together diverse interest groups including tribes, local residents, legislators, commercial interests, and recreationists. We believe this inclusive approach is key for successful conservation work.

If these designations are rescinded, the implications are not good for groups like The Mountaineers, working towards common sense conservation measures. Now, more than ever, we must act in national solidarity as we work to protect wild places. You can learn more about Bears Ears through Patagonia’s interactive portal.

National Monuments in Washington State

The order encompasses about 30 national monuments, including Washington state’s San Juan Islands and Hanford Reach. The San Juan designation protects Salish archaeological sites, relics of early European settlers, and biodiversity. Hanford Reach protects desert vistas and wildlife, and also offers opportunities to view World War II history. Both venues allow visitors to experience the wild beauty of Washington state, supporting local economies as they do so.