wilderness society

Wilderness Society: Politics plays a major role in what you do

In honor of Earth Month, we’re shining the spotlight on our pal (and Adam’s BFF) Josh Hicks. Josh works for the Wilderness Society, a conservation organization that seeks to protect and preserve our nation’s wild backcountry from development and environmental threats. We interviewed Josh last year, and we thought it would be an appropriate time to check back in with him and see what’s changed.

Politics plays a major role in what you do. Explain what’s happening since the November 2016 election.

Our system of federal public lands is a uniquely American idea that the rest of the world has adopted. These lands, owned by the public and overseen by the Federal Government, are a cherished part of our national heritage, and they are now under attack. Congress and the president are working to dismantle many environmental protections, and if they succeed, the oil and gas industries, mining corporations, and logging companies would be able to develop on these lands.

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah’s Red Desert is just one example of a beautiful location under immediate threat. Nestled to the south-east of Canyonlands National Park, this region covers nearly two million acres of stunning (mostly) desert. It’s dotted with yucca, sagebrush, and red-tinged sandstone.

Cedar Mesa, an expansive plateau dotted with canyons and sandstone pinnacles.

Pronghorn antelope, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, black bears, and peregrine falcons are several species that call the area home. Hiking, camping, rock climbing, and backpacking are staple recreation activities in Bears Ears, as well. The natural attractions are evident even when the sun goes down, as the relatively remote, open landscape means that the night skies are dark enough to fully showcase the stars overhead.

President Obama established the area as a National Monument in December 2016 just before he left office. Since 1906, a National Monument designation has meant that an area is protected in perpetuity. However, Trump and his buddies in Congress are trying to rescind the protections in order to open it up to oil and gas extraction and mining. This extreme action would set a scary precedent, putting all of our National Monuments at risk. Is nothing sacred? These places are nature’s cathedrals.

Several Native American tribes, conservations, and the recreation industry have banded together to save Bears Ears National Monument. We won’t lose this place without a fight. Here are a couple of mesmerizing videos by Patagonia that showcase the beauty of Bears Ears: http://www.patagonia.com/new-localism/bears-ears.html.

For the Wild!

If you want to read the original post that was published “pre-trumpocalypse”, go here > 

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