Over the past few months, we’ve happily added guides to Southern California’s newest National Monuments to OutdoorSoCal, as this designation helps protect the areas for recreation.
The four national monuments Castle Mountains National Monument, Mojave Trails National Monument and Sand to Snow National Monument and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, were designated by Barack Obama during his presidency to protect their remarkable natural and recreation values.
Now, however, as part of a concerted effort by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to roll back protections for the environment and public lands, these monuments and dozens of others around the country are under threat.
Ryan Zinke, the new secretary of the interior appointed by Trump, is ostensibly on a “listening tour,” visiting National Monuments designated in the past 20 years to find out what locals think of them. Many observers suspect that the tour is a charade meant to suggest due process should Trump deprotect certain national monuments.
In particular, observers warn that Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase–Escalante in Utah, and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, may be on Trump’s short list for deprotection. All three were established by Democratic presidents and have been sources local controversy.
It’s hard to know what the administration is planning for California’s national monuments, but rescending National Monument status is the first step in selling the lands off to private interests or leasing them to extractive industries such as mining. The four monuments in SoCal were created by Barack Obama and could be irresistible targets for Trump, who has made his intent clear to undermine Obama’s legacy.
Other California monuments under review are Giant Sequoia National Monument and Berryessa Snow Mountain in Northern California and Carrizo Plan National Monument in central California. A number of others in neighboring states are under review as well.
If you would like to comment on Trump’s executive order to review the national monuments, you can do so here on the Department of the Interior website.