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Parks & Protected Lands

Protected public lands, like national parks and monuments, are part of our Western heritage and deserve to be maintained and strengthened for future generations.

An American Tradition

Our nation’s protected public lands showcase America’s most spectacular outdoor spaces. These lands—including national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas—draw visitors into our region, benefit local economies, and are a major reason people choose to live in the West, start families here, and build their businesses.

Years of hard work go into protecting our parks and monuments, including community meetings, scientific, social, and economic analyses, and other planning efforts. Conservation recommendations often begin through the collaborative work in local communities before moving to Congress, which can enact legislation to permanently protect deserving landscapes. If Congress fails to act, the President can intervene, using the Antiquities Act to preserve threatened landscapes as national monuments.

But under the current administration, conservation is falling behind: Our national monuments are under attack despite unequivocal public support for their continued protection; pressure to privatize national park facilities is mounting, funding to park maintenance is dwindling, and budget cuts could mean huge job cuts for the Park Service; policies being set by President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke are paving the way for drilling at the doorstep of America’s parks; and gridlock in Congress leaves new conservation proposals at a dead end. In short, we are facing what is perhaps the most anti-park administration in history.

Here are some key facts:

  • 98 percent of public comments submitted to Interior Secretary Zinke’s monument review expressed support for keeping or expanding national monument designations.

  • Among Western voters, 80 percent are in favor of keeping national monument designations for future generations to enjoy.

  • In the West, 68 percent of all national parks were protected as national monuments using the Antiquities Act.

  • For over 100 years, presidents of both political parties have used the Antiquities Act to protect national monuments. Since 1906, 16 presidents have protected 157 monuments under the law.

  • National monument designation proclamations acknowledge “existing rights,” including oil and gas leases, mining claims, livestock grazing, and state fish and wildlife management.

  • When it comes to national park infrastructure, 94 percent of Western voters support improving roads, bridges, historic buildings, and other facility needs in our parks.

  • National parks are facing record visitation rates with over 330 million visits during 2016.

  • Counties with more protected public lands have higher per capita income levels and increased job growth.