Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument / BLM photo

Our Campaigns

Our Public Lands

Special places are important to Americans, regardless of politics. We're working to keep them protected for future generations.
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, America is a beautiful country. Since Teddy Roosevelt, 15 presidents have protected some of our most special places as national monuments. We’re doing all we can to protect and preserve these places.
A sense of beauty and utter freedom

In America, we live and travel among natural wonders. Seeing them provides us, in the words of author and historian Craig Shirley, with a “sense of beauty and utter freedom” that is “purely American.”  

Wallace Stegner called the decision to protect these places “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best.” While Stegner was referring to national parks, that’s just one tool our country has used to protect and preserve the best of America.

Since 1906, when Teddy Roosevelt protected Devils Tower in Wyoming, 15 U.S. presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect and preserve special places of historical, cultural and scientific interest as national monuments.

Our public lands are rich with natural and historical treasures. Bears Ears National Monument, Utah.
Bob Wick / BLM
Restoring our treasured places

In December 2017, President Trump dramatically cut Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Cutting two million acres combined from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments opened areas that were previously protected to mining, drilling and development. 


How can we protect our lands?

WHAT WE DID: From the first days of the Trump administration, we mobilized to defend our public lands and waters from oil and gas drilling, logging and deep-sea mining that would devastate these natural wonders. And when the Biden administration came into office, one of our first requests was that it restore protections for these places. On October 8th 2021, President Biden delivered a conservation win for tribal groups, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts, and restored protections to these special places.

IN THE MONTHS TO COME: We’re closely monitoring legislation in Congress that would strengthen the Antiquities Act, the law that gives presidents the authority to designate national monuments for protection. 

IN THE LONG RUN: Ultimately, we need to win enough hearts and minds to our point of view so daring to weaken protections for America’s public lands would be a career-ending move for any elected official. That’s one more reason why our work to raise awareness and engage people in action matters.

Staff deliver more than 2 million petitions urging the Dept. of the Interior to protect public lands.
Jenny Nordstrom
A decades-long commitment

We believe the enduring beauty, history and culture of these places are worth far more than the short-term value of any timber, minerals or oil we can extract from them.

Our national network has won much of the support necessary to establish such new national monuments as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico. We have a long track record of protecting other public lands, from President Bill Clinton’s declaration of nearly 60 million acres of national forest off-limits to logging and road-building to President Barack Obama’s moratorium on new mining on a million acres around the Grand Canyon.

Protecting our national monuments and other public lands will require us to act where and when it matters most. We have staff in many of the states where national monuments are being targeted for reduction, and members in all of them.

Our success also depends on gaining support that transcends the partisan divide. Fortunately, this is a cause that can unite hunters and hikers, anglers and birdwatchers, native tribes and businesses that cater to tourists.