National Monument Cutbacks the Largest in US History

Dec 28, 2017

Activist Kelley Garrett at the 'Save our National Monuments' rally in Arcata this month.
Credit Sarah Duffy / Northcoast Environmental Center Intern

“This is really a political move, I believe”, states Oregon representative Pam Marsh. In early December, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released his National Monument review, describing his recommendations for Monuments such as Bears Ears and the Cascade-Siskiyou, resulting in an unprecedented National Monument cutback. Ecologist Evan Frost and Oregon State representative Pam Marsh discuss the politics and ecological impacts of the Trump administration’s decision.

Bears Ears National Monument at night
Credit John Fowler / Flickr

National Monuments are protected public lands created under the Antiquities Act. Similar to a state or national park, they are conserved for their beauty, ecological or recreational purposes. The difference is that the president can create them without congressional approval, and with public support. In April President Trump asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review 27 national monuments. Zinke’s final report was released this month, and included recommended cutbacks to several National Monuments, including the Cascade-Siskiyou in southern Oregon and northern California. Not long after, Donald Trump announced that he planned to drastically decrease the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments; the largest cut in US history. The future of the Cascade-Siskiyou is still uncertain, but environmental groups and representatives from local to federal levels continue to fight for its protection. As Evan Frost says of the Cascade-Siskiyou, "It's just a kaleidoscope of different elements and diversity that are all packed into a relatively small area." 

For more information, you can visit Pam Marsh's website, the Bureau of Land Management's page on the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou. You can view Zinke's final report here.

To take action, call, write, and email your representatives. Thank them for supporting public lands, or encourage them to do so. Visit to find the contact information for your elected officials.