Don’t Change Our Monuments – Friends Grassroots Network Open Letter To Secretary Zinke

Dear Secretary Zinke,

We are community leaders representing thousands of local citizen-advocates and volunteer stewards of America’s land-based national monuments. We live in and represent the gateway communities to these treasured places–most of which are part of America’s National Conservation Lands, protected lands that stands proudly alongside our national parks and wildlife refuges–where rural economies depend on visitors, and on the quality of life that attracts permanent residents. We are gravely concerned about the harmful impact of this arbitrary and unnecessary review of our national monuments.

These national monuments create jobs, help rural economies thrive, and provide places for veterans to heal. They contain sacred ancestral places for many Native American Tribes and are key to helping their culture survive. They protect some of the last, best hunting, fishing and wildlife habitat in America. They provide clean water to millions of Americans, and offer opportunities for solitude in an increasingly crowded world. Americans want to protect these places so our children and future generations can enjoy and benefit from them.

This is why we volunteer on these lands, restoring miles of trails, cleaning up trash, protecting cultural resources, monitoring water quality, restoring wildlife habitat, improving access for recreation and hosting educational programs so both kids and adults can learn about the protected public lands they own.  

We own businesses where visitors stay, eat and buy supplies. We run outfitting companies that help people explore these places: hunting, hiking and fishing, rafting, camping and climbing. We work hand in hand with land managers, many of whom work for your Interior Department, to make public lands valuable open spaces for all—not spaces for sale.

Your review of our national monuments ignores science, the law, and the will of the people. It ignores the people in our communities, and the 2.7 million people who responded to your review—overwhelmingly voicing support (98%) for keeping America’s national monuments intact.

You can still reaffirm America’s exceptional and unique legacy of protecting public lands and public access for all. We urge you not to shut down America’s national monuments. Take all of our national monuments off President Trump’s chopping block and join us in protecting these lands, waters and stories for generations to come. That is a legacy of which Teddy Roosevelt could be proud.



Conejos Clean Water, Justin Garoutte, Co-Director

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Deborah Gangloff, Ph.D., President & CEO

Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Ben Gabriel, Executive Director

Friends of Sloan Canyon, Jim Stanger, President

Dolores River Boating Advocates, Amber Clark, Program Coordinator

Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, April Sall, Executive Director

Friends of The Cliffs, Maggie Sacher, President

Conserve Southwest Utah, Susan Crook, Land Program Manager

Friends of Red Rock Canyon, Kristi Weeks, Executive Director

Carrizo Plain Conservancy, Steph Wald, Secretary

Friends of the Inyo, Jora Fogg, Preservation Programs Manager

Fort Ord Recreation Trails (FORT) Friends, Henrietta Stern, President

Friends of Ironwood Forest, Tom Hannagan, President

Friends of the Desert Mountains, Tammy Martin, Executive Director

Friends of Browns Canyon, Linda Gibas, President

Utah Diné Bikéyah, Gavin Noyes, Executive Director

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes, Lotte Hermannsson, Secretary

Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, Nicole Croft, Executive Director

Archaeology Southwest, William H. Doelle, Ph.D., President

Friends of the San Pedro River, Robert Weissler, President

Amargosa Conservancy, Tanya Henderson, Executive Director

Friends of Arizona Joshua Tree Forest, Sharon Baur, President

Mojave Desert Land Trust, Danielle Segura, Executive Director

Lost Coast Interpretive Association, Cheryl Lisin, President

Friends of Basin and Range, Jim Boone, Co-Chair

Friends of Gold Butte, Jaina Moan, Executive Director

Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Terry Dickey, Chair

Friends of Cedar Mesa, Josh Ewing, Executive Director

Native American Land Conservancy, Michael Madrigal, President

Fort Stanton Cave Study Project, Steve Peerman, Project Director

Friends of Pompeys Pillar, Neal Gunnels, Executive Director

Islanders for the San Juan Islands National Monument, Tom Reeve, President

Friends of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, Dave S. Miller, President

Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Jose Witt, Southern Nevada Director

Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, Michael Myers, Executive Director

Friends of Agua Fria National Monument, Sarah Striker, President

Tuleyome, Bob Schneider, Senior Policy Director

Friends of the Owyhee, Tim Davis, Executive Director

Sanctuary Forest, April Newlander, Executive Director

Trinidad Coastal Land Trust, Ben Morehead, Executive Director

California Wilderness Coalition, Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director

Soda Mountain Wilderness Coalition, Dave Willis, Chair

Mattole Restoration Council, Cassie Pinnell, Executive Director

Friends of Point Arena Stornetta Lands, Merita Whatley, Steering Committee

Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM) Anabella Bastida, Executive Director

Friends of Upper Missouri River Breaks, Tim Dwyer, Executive Director

Friends of Agua Fria National Monument, Sarah Striker, President 

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