FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 20, 2017
California leaders call on Interior Secretary Zinke to support and protect public lands, national monuments
PALM SPRINGS, CA—The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America RV road tour stopped in Palm Springs today, where leaders urged President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop the assault on popular national monuments that boost local economies.
During a press briefing at Whitewater Preserve, business leaders, outdoor advocates, and elected officials discussed how national monuments and other protected public lands help create jobs, support the local economy and define the West’s outdoor way of life.
Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Advocacy Director, Center for Western Priorities
“With more than 1,300 miles under our belts, and stops in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, we’ve heard from Westerners of all stripes that they cherish their national monuments. Our recent analysis of public comments submitted to the Interior Department’s review found overwhelming support—98 percent asked Secretary Zinke to keep our national monuments the way they are.”
Danielle Segura, Executive Director, Mojave Desert Land Trust
“We fought for over a decade alongside diverse groups, from veterans, the Latino community, faith groups, to the local Girl Scouts, to get these monuments designated. We have these monuments because our community wants them.”
Chris Clarke, California Desert Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association
“As we’ve seen today, there is powerful local support for these national monuments. Their continued protection is the will of the people, in California and across America. Courts have routinely confirmed the legality of these monuments under the Antiquities Act. The Trump administration’s review is entirely needless.”
Michael Madrigal, President, Native American Land Conservancy
“California’s national monuments are where we, as Native Americans, reconnect to our history and nurture our youth. This can only happen if the lands continue to be protected and preserved as monuments. All of us—not only Native Americans, but all Americans—rely on them to inform our past and guarantee our future.”
In late April, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to review 27 national monuments protected over the last 21 years. Every indication from President Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and politicians close to them is that the outcome is preordained and review will lead to attempts to shrink or eliminate national monuments. Rolling back national monument protections through executive action is an unprecedented, and likely illegal, move that puts all of America’s protected lands, parks, forests and monuments at risk.
The Center for Western Priorities recently conducted an analysis of public comments submitted to the Department of Interior and found 98 percent expressed support for keeping or expanding the national monument under review.
Sand to Snow National Monument protects the diverse landscapes and habitats that connect the San Bernardino Mountains to the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert.
Mojave Trails National Monument is home to ancient lava flows, rugged mountain ranges, and the pristine Cadiz Dunes. It also features a wide span of historical sites, from Native American Trading routes, to World War II training grounds, to the longest undeveloped stretch of Route 66.
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument protects one of the most biodiverse regions in the country outside of Los Angeles, providing Angeleños with open space and clean drinking water. The monument holds evidence of more than 8,000 years of human history, including archaeological sites and rock art.
Three other monuments in California — Carrizo Plain National Monument, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument — are also at risk by the executive order.
The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America tour is a six-state RV road-trip highlighting national monuments across the West that are threatened by President Trump’s executive order. The tour ― featuring a wrapped RV and oversized inflatable State of Liberty ― will conclude at the final Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. Outdoor Retailer is leaving Salt Lake City for Denver after 20 years in protest of Utah politicians’ anti-public lands agenda.
This spring, the Center for Western Priorities launched a multi-state ad campaign encouraging national leaders to respect the heritage and history of America’s national monuments.
Broadcast and print-quality photos, video and audio of the press conference will be available this afternoon at bit.ly/monumentsmedia.