When Trump was elected, there was (and unfortunately still is) no end to the list of things that needed protection. Our national monuments were not high on the list of progressive priorities.
For years, M+R’s media team has worked with a loose coalition of groups across the country to advocate for and celebrate dozens of new natural and historic monuments designated under Obama’s presidency, like Bears Ears in Utah and the Freedom Riders National Monument in Alabama. America was on a roll!
After our winning streak, we immediately had to start playing defense and build up awareness and anger that the people in charge of the Trump Administration wanted to undo all the progress that we’d made.
In April 2017, Trump issued an executive order calling for a review of 27 national monuments, and since then, the Interior Department has announced drastic reductions to Bears Ears and another Utah monument, Grand Staircase Escalante.
To elevate this issue while the national media was focused on the unraveling of America’s healthcare and climate change commitments, we put forward some surprising voices to speak out against Trump’s plans and speak up for monuments.
We were able to connect local business leaders, sportsmen, tribal voices, veterans and others with press to make their voices heard in outlets including The Washington Post, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Salt Lake Tribune, NBC News and more.
These media pieces created a national conversation and made Department of the Interior Secretary Zinke’s decision on whether to maintain the monuments a suspenseful national story. While other monuments and public lands remain at risk under the Trump Administration, we have continued to fight to keep the issue on the front page by elevating nontraditional voices to stand up for the outdoors.