Lonely Planet Writer

How to have your say on the future of 27 US National Monuments

Do you have an interest in the protection of national landscapes? The US government are now seeking opinions from members of the public on the future of 27 National Monuments that are currently up for review.

 Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Colorado Plateau, Coyote Buttes, Arizona.
The Wave, located in the desert close the border of Arizona and Utah, is probably one of the most colorful and amazing sandstone rock formations in the world. Image by Thomas Janisch/Getty Images/Flickr RF

The move was announced last week by the Department of Interior, who manage and conserve federal land and natural resources. It comes as a result of an executive order from President Trump ordering a review of all National Monuments created since 1996 that are more than 100,000 acres in size.

The public are specifically asked to comment on whether the monuments were designated “without adequate public outreach”, whether they’re appropriately classified as National Monuments and the impact of the sites on local communities. The full considerations are listed online here.

A path through sequoias in the national park.
Sequoia National Park, California. Image by Quan Yuan/Getty Images/Flickr RF

Four Arizona and five California landmarks are up for review, with other famous landmarks like Utah’s Grand Staircase and New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte are up for consideration. The future of five ocean reserves – including the ‘underwater Yellowstone’ – are also in question as part of a new offshore energy strategy.

Members of the public will have until 10 July to submit their comments, except in the case of Utah’s 1.35 million acre Bear’s Ears National Monument which only has until 26 May. The short window for comments has proved controversial as Bear’s Ears was only declared a National Monument in December 2016 after several years of advocating from Native American tribes – who hold the land sacred – and environmental groups. However, some politicians in the region want to allow energy companies to exploit the landscape.

Fallen Roof Ruin in Road Canyon, Puebloan cliff dwelling on Cedar Mesa, Utah, USA
The Cedar Mesa is just one of the landmarks protected within the Bear Ears National Monument. Image by Wiltold Skrypczak

No National Monument has ever been ‘un-designated’ so it’s unclear if the government would even be legally allowed to remove protected status from any of the sites. In the past Monuments have been reduced in size, although this hasn’t happened in the last 50 years.

You can submit your comments online via regulations.gov or post them to:
Monument Review, MS-1530
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW.,
Washington, DC 20240

This is a photo of a woman in a straw hat photographing yellow wildflowers in the Carrizo National Monument of California.
The yellow fields of Carrizo Plain may lose their protection as a National Monument. Image by Mimi Ditchie Photography

Want your say? Here is the full list of the 27 National Monuments that you can speak up about:

Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, American Samoa/Pacific Ocean
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona
Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona
Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, Atlantic Ocean
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, California
Carrizo Plain National Monument, California
Giant Sequoia National Monument, California
Mojave Trails National Monument, California
Sand to Snow National Monument, California
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, California
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado
Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands/Pacific Ocean
Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Maine
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana
Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada
Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, Pacific Ocean
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Hawaii/Pacific Ocean
Bears Ears National Monument, Utah
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah
Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington

Stairs descending into lava tube cave Indian Tunnel at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Arco, Idaho.
Will the Craters of the Moon remain a National Monument? Image by Anna Gorin/Getty Images/Moment Open