Friends of the Yampa: Attack on 1 monument is attack on all |

Friends of the Yampa: Attack on 1 monument is attack on all

Many of you know Friends of the Yampa as the local nonprofit that strives to protect and enhance the environmental and recreational integrity of the Yampa River through stewardship, advocacy, education and partnerships.

Friends of the Yampa is expanding our advocacy as part of a broader coalition of friends groups with a common goal: bringing attention to the importance of our nation's public lands.

Public lands and waters are a critical part of the U.S. economy, particularly in Colorado. Outdoor recreation has generated $887 billion in consumer spending nationwide, supporting 7.6 million jobs each year and allowing U.S. citizens multiple opportunities to enjoy the best that nature has to offer.

In 2016, our National Parks saw record visitation. Studies have shown that regions surrounding national monuments have seen growth in employment and income. Dinosaur National Monument alone generated over $20 million for surrounding communities in 2016 and supported 244 local jobs.

Protected public lands not only offer sanctuary for wildlife, protect clean water and provide outdoor recreation, but they are also job creators and economic stimulators.

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Since it was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used on a bipartisan basis by the majority of U.S. Presidents (eight Republicans and eight Democrats) to protect America's most iconic natural, cultural and historic places.

Dinosaur National Monument, through which flows the Yampa River, was designated using the Antiquities Act. Colorado National Monument, Browns Canyon National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument are other public lands within Colorado that bear the same designation made possible by the Antiquities Act.

Recently, the Antiquities Act and the protected lands that were created by the act have come under fire despite consistent public support for these parks and monuments, many of which are now threatened as a result. The widespread diversity of historic, cultural and natural resources that have been protected by the Antiquities Act is the reason why groups representing sportsmen, cultural heritage, religion, conservation, recreation, historic preservation and more oppose efforts to undermine this vital law.

Friends of the Yampa opposes challenges to our protected lands, and we believe that an attack on one national monument is an attack on all. We stand with those who have worked hard to protect these special places, and we invite you to join us in speaking out against this unprecedented effort to undermine our public lands.

Please visit the Interior Department website at to read the full press release regarding this executive order. You may be surprised to see which parks have been singled out by the current administration.

Of particular concern is the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument, which only has a 15-day comment period and is of significant cultural value.

Bears Ears is one of the most ecologically intact regions in the continental U.S. and is home to more than 100,000 Native American cultural sites. It is also potentially the most vulnerable of our national monuments, as the lure of oil and gas development in the area appears to be of greater priority to the federal government than the preservation of cultural heritage that dates back 12,500 years.

Bringing into question the protections afforded by a national monument designation sets a dangerous precedent and threatens public lands across the nation. We hope you will think back to a time when you found enjoyment in one of these special places or can look ahead to a future visit, whether that involves you or your children's grandchildren, and recognize that they are worth the fight. It only takes a few minutes to write a letter or make a phone call, and the benefits could last longer than a lifetime.

Public comment opens today. Please go to and enter "DOI-2017-0002" in the search bar or look under the "Newly Posted" list to comment.

See you on the river!

Friends of the Yampa board and staff