AAC Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order for a Review of Existing National Monument Designations under the Antiquities Act
April 26, 2017: This morning President Trump signed an executive order instructing the Interior Department to review all national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act since 1996. An interim report will be concluded within 45 days and a final report within 120 days of the order.
The American Alpine Club is concerned by how this order will impact the future of critical climbing resources, our public lands and the Antiquities Act—the conservation tool used for more than 100 years to safeguard our country’s important archaeological, historic and scientific resources on public lands.
Under this review will be the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument—the first national monument to recognize rock climbing as a valued activity in its proclamation. In addition to its spectacular climbing areas, Bears Ears includes more than 100,000 Native American cultural sites. “The creation of Bear Ears National Monument—with its iconic desert climbing, wild canyons and Native American artifacts—represents the best, highest value, and most sustainable use possible of these iconic and spectacular landscapes which are on par with Canyonlands, Arches and Yellowstone,” says AAC board policy member Peter Metcalf. “We must be fearless in communicating unambiguously to the president about our absolute commitment to our country’s monuments, especially Bears Ears.”
Just this week, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) released its new data: The outdoor recreation economy generates over $887 billion in consumer spending and supports 7.6 million American jobs. The U.S. Department of the Interior reports that visits to our national parks added $35 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 alone. As OIA’s Executive Director Amy Roberts says, “Monuments, many of which have become national parks, have created economic prosperity and jobs in local communities for decades. The vast majority of Americans value their national parks and monuments and want these lands protected.”
AAC Policy Director Maria Povec is currently in D.C. with the Outdoor Industry Association to educate elected leaders about the importance of public lands to the climbing community and the benefits of the outdoor recreation economy. In early May, the AAC will be back in D.C. with the Access Fund to “Climb the Hill” and advocate for places we climb, land management agencies and policies that support outdoor recreation. As Metcalf says, “We best ensure our continued privilege to climb, in part, by educating others about the integral role our public lands play in the vibrancy of our economy, our cultural history, bio-diversity, and the quality of our lives.”