In May of last year conservationists celebrated after President Obama designated almost two million acres of California’s deserts as national monuments.
Now those groups are traveling in an RV to call attention to what they say is a threat to many of the country’s natural treasures: President Trump’s executive orders to review all national monuments under the Antiquities Act since 1996.
"That’s a precursor to possibly eliminating or shrinking those monuments, something we feel is unprecedented and illegal," says Jesse Prentice-Dunn with the Center for Western Priorities.
But in President Trump said the 100-year-old Antiquities Act in which President Obama designated those lands was an abuse of the state’s rights and a land grab and the review would give power back to the people who live in those states.
It’s atrocious, I think it’s complete overreach by the executive branch, it has no foundation in American law and it goes against the will of the people," says Chris Clarke with the National Parks Conservation Association.
This stop was in Whitewater, to celebrate the Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails National Monuments. Their Monuments to America tour will take them to the 27 places under review.
"From the Grand Canyon, to the Statue of Liberty, from the Mojave Trails to the Carrizo Plain, presidents of both parties have protected lands, waters and historical sites," said Prentice-Dunn.
But President Trump wants to make a different mark. His executive orders say this review is in "recognition of the importance of the nation’s wealth of national resources to the American worker and the economy"as many feel protection of these lands would stifle economic growth.
But those against it say the land itself is the treasure.
"It’s been wonderful to hear from so many people about why they cherish the landscapes around them and how they support local economies and are enjoyed from people of all stripes," said Prentice-Dunn.
For more information about the tour click here: Monuments to America Tour
For the full text of President Trump’s executive orders click here: Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act