This is unprecedented.
Here at the Alliance, we are not unused to setbacks. It’s part of the work we do. But right now the scale of setbacks is jarring. The President has initiated a process that could strip million of acres of protections for our most sacred landscapes. Canyons of the Ancients (CANM), unassumingly remarkable with the highest density of cultural resources in the nation and right here in our backyard, is on the list.
So, we as a community must circle back a decade to defend the work we thought was complete. Permanent even. The Alliance must shift to a more defensive stance and divert some resources from pushing forward for cleaner air and healthier rivers and lands toward defending protections we won years ago.
All of us who care about these places, who want to protect them for eternity, who yearn for future generations to learn and experience them, must be clear in our demands. These designations were meant to be permanent. Changing the rules threatens the entire future of public lands and robs our children of knowledge, awe and escape.
Although President’s designate national monuments, the protections on those landscapes largely come from local communities through a robust and lengthy public process. Alliance staff and you, our members and supporters, spent the better part of a decade after its designation in 2000 ensuring that effective protections were in place and enforced through the management plan.
Our communities worked hard for those protections and we aren’t going to let them go easily. We’re circling back and we’re ready to defend this place again, but we’re going to need each and every one of your voices.
In just 45 days Secretary Zinke will release a preliminary report and a recommendation for Bears Ears. The final report is due in just 120 days. Under the Antiquities Act, any changes must be made through Congress.
Right now, we are asking you to contact Secretary Zinke to voice your support our national monuments in general and Canyons of the Ancients and Bears Ears in particular. Deman he leave them untouched. Any personal story and connection to these lands their impact on our communities will your voice even more impactful.