Stop the Monumental Madness

I do not shy away from the fact I am a passionate advocate for public lands and protecting the National Parks, Monuments, Historical Sites and other federal lands.  And to that end, I sent the following letter to Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. I get that extraction of resources is tempting, and frankly keeps my blue tacoma buzzing towards adventure. But there are places that are too important to sell off to those bidders. Those places, like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, need us to fight like mad.

“Without question, our public lands are America’s treasure.”
Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Zinke

“Your words. I trusted you would hold yourself accountable to them. And as I forced myself to watch the train wreck of the President announcing his executive order to review national monument designations, I watched you, very carefully. I saw someone who would have made the quote above and was now forced to deliver the unthinkable. I still think you get it–that you know these monuments were never the property of any state. If anything they were held by tribes and grabbed from them. Those tribes stand with us and now ask you to at least leave these sites in the protective custody of the federal government for ALL citizens to enjoy.

I believe I saw a man that knows the designation of national monument doesn’t alter the ownership, doesn’t eliminate existing uses, doesn’t take jobs away, and doesn’t happen in a bubble. I believe your troubled eyes as the President shouted self-congratulating fore-drawn conclusions to the Utah contingent off camera, were telling a different story. I think you know the answers they seek are unsupportable–by facts, by history, by the passions of all Americans that own those monuments. I saw someone who didn’t want the weight of this on his shoulders.

I live in Southwest Colorado surrounded by BLM, National Forest, National Parks, and sagebrushers. I get what this conversation is about. I was in Bears Ears last weekend. We hiked in to the All American Man pictograph in Canyonlands from Cathedral Butte. There’s a sign asking people not to climb up into the cave because the tiniest of vibrations undermine the ruins and the man holding the shield that uncannily looks like an American flag. These sites are so vulnerable. Time will slowly continue to take them, but we shouldn’t push their demise faster with our greedy needs and unrealistic expectations of wealth lurking around each corner. Civilizations struggle under such delusions. Ask the ones that built the ruins we now cherish.

Mr. Zinke, you know the right thing to do. Review these monuments, but I beg of you to do it with your own mind and instinct, not the mandate of Hatch, Bishop, Chaffetz, or Trump. Be the bold outdoorsman we all hoped you were. I still think you have it within your power and I think there is an army of resistance that would cheer you on and back you up. Do the wrong thing, however, and the army will see you in court. My law degree is itching to fight for public lands.”

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