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The Shrinking of our Public Lands

December 07, 2017

The Shrinking of our Public Lands

On Monday, December 4th, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation to dramatically reduce the size of two National Monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase - Escalante in Utah. Bears Ears will be reduced by 85% and Grand Staircase - Escalante by 50% from this proclamation.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. John Muir

So why should we care? First off, these two sites are pristine wild lands, are full of a huge archaeological history and artifacts, and are important sites to Native Americans. The local Native American tribes came together to help support the formation of these National Monuments and support keeping them.  Once the land becomes commercialize it will be destroyed. 

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed -- chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. ... It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods -- trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries ... God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools -- only Uncle Sam can do that. John Muir

So why the change? That gets into a ton of politics but in the end, the land will be sold and leased for commercial use thus destroying it forever. Please read the proclamations for yourself,  Bears Ears and Grand Staircase. Get through the items about what is still preserved and go to the bottom. You will find this written in the proclamation:

Any lands reserved by Proclamation 6920 not within the boundaries identified on the accompanying map are hereby excluded from the monument.
At 9:00 a.m., eastern standard time, on the date that is 60 days after the date of this proclamation, subject to valid existing rights, the provisions of existing withdrawals, and the requirements of applicable law, the public lands excluded from the monument reservation shall be open to:
(1) entry, location, selection, sale or other disposition under the public land laws;
(2) disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing; and
(3) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws.

It clearly states the land outside the new boundaries can be sold and mined. How can this be in the best interest of us, all of the people, of the United States? How can this be in the best interest of a future for us all? What is next, condos along the rim of the Grand Canyon? And this is only the beginning. More National Monuments will be modified, opened up to commercial uses that don't support our environment, and sold so someone can make a dollar off of our lands. It is happening right now.

The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right. John Muir

So what can you do? Resist. These public lands are set aside for us all, for the future generations of Americans to enjoy, learn from and respect. You can share your voice with your elected officials, call them, write them, email them. Sometimes we feel we are not being listened to, we agree, but we have to continue. We have to share stories of what public lands are to us. Tweet, Facebook and Instagram how important parks and wild spaces are to you. We have to get our neighbors involved. We have to share photos of public lands and how they inspire. Join an organization that is fighting for our lands. Click on a link below to learn more of getting involved. You can no longer just hope the right thing will be done. We have to say these are our lands and we will not take it. These issues have been going on, they will continue and so will our resistance. Everyday, our public lands and National Parks are up against treats, from mining near the Grand Canyon to the killing of wolves, bears and bison when they step over the line off of a National Park. This is our country. It is beautiful and needs our protection and support. You may never get to a pristine land like Bears Ears or one in Alaska, but just knowing it is there for you is amazing. Knowing that you can enjoy this country and its wild places is reason enough for us to fight on. Be strong, resist, spread the word and be apart of saving our country, our National Parks, our National Monuments, and our places wild.

Links to Learn More and to Support Our Public Lands-

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