On December 5, the president announced plans to overwhelmingly reduce the protections and boundaries of two National Monuments in Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Openlands adamantly opposes any effort to curtail protections for conserved federal lands, and we see this as a legal precedent to undo protections for conservation across the nation.
National Monuments protect ecologically unique areas, they enshrine our national history, and they preserve the heritage and culture of indigenous nations. Though no monuments are being rescinded, significant reductions represent a failure to consider these objectives.
The designation of these monuments was the result of decades of advocacy by native nations to protect their ancestral homes from development and to honor the health of these lands. This is an affront not just to those groups, but to all indigenous peoples who have looked to correct centuries of historical injustices by permanently protecting land through conservation – and that work extends to our home in the Midwest.
It is only right that we stand in solidarity with all people working towards this goal. Our neighbors in the West supported us when we sought federal protections for landscapes in Illinois, so we are calling on our state’s elected leadership to show them the same support.
With each message you send, we encourage you to add your personal story about visiting a National Monument. Openlands adamantly opposes any effort to curtail protections for conserved federal lands.