The continuing menace that is Donald Trump has now taken aim at what is most near and dear to my heart – namely, the outdoor heritage that I, and all Americans, cherish. Trump has taken aim at our National Monuments, one of which is the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, in New Mexico.
I live 7 miles from the Monument, am a commercial river outfitter in the Monument and spend very many winter days photographing wildlife there, such as this wintering bald eagle:
The centerpiece of the Monument is the Rio Grande, in the Rio Grande Gorge:
There are many more Monuments on DT’s hit list. One is the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, again in New Mexico. I spent a fair amount of time in that area when I worked at New Mexico Tech, in Socorro, taking students on hikes and climbs. And Kathy and I later journeyed there to climb Sugarloaf Peak:
Then there is the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in Utah, and the adjoining Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, in Arizona. The former includes the remote Kaiparowits Plateau. Prior to the designation of the Monument, the few people who live in the area had, for considerable time, been pushing to see the proposed Kaiparowits coal-fired power plant built. Old-time conservation activists remember when a group of these folks burned David Brower (then Director of the Sierra Club) in effigy on the US Capitol steps. The Monument put an end to that.
Vermilion Cliffs includes what must be the most extraordinary piece of rock architecture in the country – the Wave:
Near the Wave, which is found in the area known as Coyote Buttes, is Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon:
Another area of great scenic appeal included in the above are the Escalante Canyons:
And another is the Toadstools:
and the Cottonwood Narrows:
and the upper steps of the Grand Staircase:
The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, in Arizona, protects a large swath of the north rim of the Grand Canyon and adjacent wild lands to the north and west, including the north shoreline of the Colorado River/Lake Mead, west of Grand Canyon National Park. Here’s Pearce Ferry Rapid:
The final National Monument on DT’s hit list that I’m personally acquainted with is the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument, in southern Utah, which includes mountains, plateaus, canyons, rivers, a wilderness area, paleo-indian archeological sites and contemporary Native American religious sites. The Monument borders Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Canyonlands National Park and the Manti-La Sal National Forest, unifying, under federal protection, a significant assemblage of southern Utah’s unique and highly-scenic wild lands. Protection of these spectacular locales was long over-due:
Yes … I am VERY pissed-off.
All photos by the author.