Safeguarding Our National Monuments

Safeguarding Our National Monuments

Do you have a special spot where you’ve returned year after year to camp with your friends and family? A beach where your children first dipped their toes in the ocean? A scenic view where you first realized the enduring beauty of nature?

We all have places that hold special meaning for us — and our nation is no exception.

In 1906, Congress passed The Antiquities Act, empowering President Theodore Roosevelt — and every US president since — to establish national monuments that safeguard the culture, history, and national treasures that define our country. [1]

Since then, US presidents have established more than 129 national monuments across the country to protect the rich legacy that is the birthright of every American. [2]

It is hard to overstate the importance of these monuments to our country — especially their value in preserving the wildlife, wild places, and nature that help make the United States great.

For instance, California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument protects some of the country’s most ancient and rare trees. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument provides vital room for imperiled sea turtles, whales and other wildlife. [3] And the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument in Utah not only protects lands that are sacred to Native Americans — it also provides a home for black bears, bighorn sheep, and other western wildlife. [4]

Unfortunately, these and other monuments — along with the wildlife that makes it home on these lands — may soon be sacrificed to expand oil and gas drilling, mining, logging, and other disruptive and destructive development.

The Trump administration has given US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke just a few weeks to consider the fate of up to 27 national monuments that have been established since the 1990s — 27 places that Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama declared were deserving of national monument protection due to their unique cultural and natural values [5]

In announcing the review, President Trump made his vision for national monument land clear:

“[W]e’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place.” [6]

The president’s order undermines a century of American commitment to preserving our nation’s natural and cultural heritage, directly contradicting the vision laid out by President Teddy Roosevelt, who established our country’s first national monuments:

“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.” [7]

Our national monuments are worth protecting — which is why Environmental Action has launched our campaign to safeguard these special places. Will you help?

Three Ways to Help

  1. Sign the Petition. More than 20,000 Environmental Action supporters have already added their name to protect our national monuments. Have you?
  2. Spread the Word. Encourage your friends and family to take action, too.
  3. Donate to Support Our Work. Your contribution will enable us to carry out a three-point plan to defend these unique and beautiful places.


[1] Theodore Roosevelt Center, retrieved online May 11, 2017

[2] Wikipedia, retrieved online May 11, 2017

[3] The Wilderness Society, retrieved online May 9, 2017.

[4] “Here are the national monuments being reviewed under Trump’s order,” The Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2017.

[5] “27 national monuments may have protections cut or curtailed under Trump’s review,” The Chicago Tribune, May 6,2017.

[6] “Trump orders review of national monuments, vows to ‘end these abuses and return control to the people,’” The Washington Post, April 26, 2017.

[7] National Parks Service, Retrieved online April 26, 2017.