by Ryan Westergaard
On December 4, President Trump downsized two national monuments by over one million acres.
The Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments reside in Utah and comprise millions of acres of the most beautiful and pristine land in the country. It is commonly used for hiking, camping, exploring, rock climbing, and many other outdoor activities. This area acts to preserve species living there, and for many Native American tribes it holds sacred places. These monuments are littered with dinosaur bones and other fossils that scientists are still studying.
That is, until they were cut down by up to 85%. Millions of acres of the monuments, which is public land, has legally lost federal protection and isn’t even part of the monuments anymore.
Trump’s rationale for this is to allow the land to be purchased by companies for oil drilling.
Let that sink in. The places you go hiking as a kid, camp out under the stars; the places scientists hunt for dinosaur bones, to carefully examine and study them; the places Native Americans have ceremonies will now be drilled for oil. Not only does it halt all the things a person could do there, but it will also completely destroy the ecosystem of these monuments.
Many people are infuriated over it. Luckily, huge outdoor sports companies are fighting against it such as Patagonia and Black Diamond. Many of these companies are based in Utah, and call these monuments home. Banners can be seen on their websites stating what has happened to these monuments.
Many of these companies plan on suing the President, and so do many Native American tribes.
Not everyone can sue, but everyone can take to social media. Using #MonumentalMistake to spread the word may just get our land back.