Public lands need protection |

Public lands need protection

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to Ryan Zinke, U.S. secretary of the interior.

It was with a great deal of fear and trepidation on my part upon hearing about President Trump’s executive order to the Department of Interior to review the national monuments that were established by presidential order in the last 20 years. I am fearful that your review is just the first step in rolling back the protections for those public lands. It seems all too obvious that is the goal as the Utah delegation began lobbying Trump to rescind recent monument designations from the very first days of the new administration.

I know the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Monument lands very well as I have been visiting the areas for nearly 50 years and to think of withdrawing protections and allow industrial development and unrestricted vehicle access makes me deeply fearful. These are not private lands, but public lands that belong to all Americans. And polling shows that 90 percent of Americans support protecting public lands.

These public lands are our treasured heritage and need to be passed on to the generations to follow. And in what condition will these lands be in if current protections are rolled back and they are given over to corporate development? We all have a solemn obligation to not let that happen.

Doug Rhinehart

Woody Creek

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