Given that President Trump has had such virulent opposition, I have been remiss to disagree with him in public the few times when I have. Here’s one of them. Recently, I started looking in to what is happening with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the review of a ton of National Monuments designated in the last 20+ years.
Anyone who knows me, knows that my wife and I spend our vacation time traveling to National Parks and getting outdoors. I’m far from being a tree hugger, but as a hardcore conservative I also see the value in public land and preservation of these designations.
Currently under review by the Trump Administration, and I say this as a full-fledged Trump/MAGA supporter, are a list of lands designated by the previous Administration as parks or monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906. My understanding of the purpose of the review by the Department of the Interior is to determine whether these designations should be rescinded by proclamations through executive order. In California for example, the areas under review include the Cascade Siskiyous, San Gabriel Mountains, Mojave Trails, Giant Sequoia, Carrizo Plain, Sand to Snow and others that aren’t just for hikers and bird watchers – but also used by hunters, campers and horsemen.
Apart from my understanding and appreciation for National Parks and monuments, as a conservative I have no problem with reviews of these land designations per se, but I would have an issue with any action being taken through executive order. While we conservatives crowed when Obama governed recklessly using the executive order, we can’t turn around and then say it’s ok if our guys do it; Congress must be included if this is a path that this Administration wants to explore. Truth be told, I get very nervous any time I hear “executive order” outside of clear national emergency or defense purposes.
I am far from the only one using my Ronald Reagan era cowboy boots to kick up a little dust on this, a number of other Constitutional conservatives have raised a red flag on the potential rescinding of monument status through executive order. Apart from the process however, let me be clear, I want Secretary Zinke to keep all of these lands designated parks and monuments unchanged because it’s good for the taxpaying public.
Conservatives are the original and the true conservationists. Despite current events in California, we don’t hold these views because we are acquiescing to a left-wing agenda aimed at climate change. Rather, many of us understand that the preservation of our natural heritage is important for the future, and it also maintains both economic and recreational opportunities for families, outdoors people, hunters, off-roaders, campers and the thousands of jobs supported by these lands.
In a very selfish way I also support keeping parks and monuments because I also have seen and experienced some of the most beautiful country at our National Parks and monuments traveling with my wife on our yearly adventures – and to be brutally honest as I always am, I doubt those experiences would be open and available if they weren’t designated as such.