2.5 million comments for national monuments

If our support for public lands wasn’t apparent before, it should be now.

More than 2.5 million American commented in favor of national monuments and the Antiquities Act over the past 90 days. In that mix were Trout Unlimited leaders from 30 states across the country who submitted comments for the official record yesterday.

If there was a hidden benefit to calling public lands that belong to all into question, it was the galvinization of support for a conservation tool signed into law more than a century ago by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Antiquities Act, it seems, has new life. Hunters and anglers across the country now look to the current administration to keep it in the toolbox when it comes to protecting important fish and wildlife habitat.

The review, which will culminate in a report issued by the Department of the Interior later this summer, was required by an executive order signed by President Trump in April, which called into question 27 monuments designated since 1996.

Following the President’s Executive Order, statements by Sec. of Interior Ryan Zinke on Bear Ears National Monument indicated the Administration might try to shrink or dramatically alter the boundaries of monuments, alarming many in the sporting community.

Many, if not all, of the monuments in question are important to sportsmen and women who utilize these public lands for hunting and fishing.

“This Administration wanted to know what the public thought about monuments, and I think that answer is quite clear: We as a country overwhelmingly support and treasure these public lands,” said Corey Fisher, Senior Policy Director for Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. “They’re some of the best places left to hunt and fish and national monument status will help keep them that way.”

By Shauna Stephenson.