On April 26, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing his Interior Secretary to review all National Monuments over 100,000 acres created since 1996.
Our Carrizo Plain National Monument falls into this category. All of us who made our way to the Carrizo Plain for the “superbloom” of wildflowers saw the vibrant colors set against the stark beauty of Soda Lake and the Temblor Range. This area deserves to be protected as the largest native grassland remaining in California, home to endangered species.
This order appears to have been precipitated by former President Barack Obama’s designation of multiple monuments, including Bears Ears in Utah, controversially portrayed as a “land grab.” Putting this into perspective, only land already owned by the federal government can be designated. Previously existing rights, as oil leases or mining claims, are not negated. Recreational activities including hunting and camping are almost always allowed. These areas have already been vetted and supported by local communities.
Secretary Ryan Zinke has opened a public comment period; go to the Department of Interior website to make your thoughts known. No other president has ever revoked a designated monument. Let’s keep it that way — together.
Ruth Zachary, Atascadero