Since the election, Republicans in Congress have launched a sustained attack on America's national parks and public lands. Starting in January, they wasted no time putting in place new rules and legislation that threaten the future of our national treasures. They launched their assault on their very first day in session, and haven't stopped.
- A new rule passed in the House essentially values all public lands at $0, clearing the way for Republicans to put our national resources in corporate hands. Those lands include National Park Service-managed parks and programs that were valued at $92 billion, and pour billions of dollars into local economies.
- Trump instituted a federal hiring freeze, preventing nearly 500 full-time National Park Service jobs from being filled and potentially impacting summer seasonal employment – which means your camping plans may have to be put off indefinitely.
- Utah Republicans passed a resolution for the state's federal delegation to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and urged Trump to rescind the Obama order that created Bears Ears National Monument.
- Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill that would have placed 3.3 million acres of public lands in private hands, including wetlands, endangered species habitat, and important cultural and historical resources. Public outrage forced him to withdraw it.
- Chaffetz also tried to eliminate the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management's law enforcement entities – putting the pressure on local agencies, which don't have the resources, funding, or expertise to enforce federal law on public lands.
- Interior Secretary Zinke repealed a bar on lead ammunition in parks and refuges, allowing wildlife, land, and water to be poisoned. For a grim look at the results, see what's happening to bald eagles in my own state of Washington.
- Congressional Republicans struck down a rule that gave the public more say in how our federal lands are used. It can't ever be reinstated.
- Trump promised to open up public lands for drilling, and literally handed the presidential pen to the CEO of Dow Chemical after making it harder for the government to regulate corporations.
- Trump and the Republicans enacted a measure to eliminate the Stream Protection Rule, allowing our waterways to be polluted and poisoned by mine waste.
- House Republicans introduced a bill to roll back updates to National Park Service rules regulating oil and gas drilling in national parks.
Republicans are determined to place our public lands in corporate hands, and Trump is happy to help them. So it's up to us. If you've ever loved our national parks, if you've ever enjoyed the wildlife in federal refuges, if you've ever taken your family to explore our heritage at national historic sites, now's the time for you to act.
Call, fax, email, or write your state and federal representatives. Tell them to protect and preserve our national parks, wildlife refuges, and other priceless public lands. Let them know that you're watching how they manage the land we've entrusted to our government.
Donate to the National Park Service. Your dollars make a difference.
Volunteer in your local parks. Become a steward in more than the abstract. There are opportunities for everyone, from artists to scientists, students to teachers, people of all skill sets can find a way to contribute.
National parks have provided Americans with recreation, education, and resources for generations. Let's keep them safe for all the generations to come.