We have until July 10 to tell the Trump administration just how much our public lands mean to us. The public comment period will be over soon for the 27 national monuments under review as directed by a recent executive order.
Some of my most memorable moments in life began with the decision to venture down a dirt path. There is nothing like setting out into nature with the pure intention of discovery — each bend provides anticipation, each hill you climb brings accomplishment, the sights spur inspiration, and every step brings you closer to yourself.
You are the proud owner of over 250 million acres of land (external link) — majestic redwoods, breath-taking beaches, and erupting volcanoes. Over 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. signed into action the Antiquities Act which paved way for the protection of the beautiful valleys and mountain tops of our national monuments.
My husband and I are constantly seeking new experiences to enjoy together, so we decided to take a long weekend to explore Eureka, in northern California. Even though we were in the midst of a weeks-long deluge with dams straining against their impediments, we were not to be deterred. We were even more determined when we learned that Eureka has a huge number of Victorian homes, which happen to be another one of our fascinations. When we mentioned to one of our friends that we were going to be exploring the redwoods and the Victorians in the Eureka area, she told us that we couldn’t miss the Avenue of the Giants or the Carson Mansion.
The effort to save the giant sequoia groves of California began over 150 years ago. We were recently reminded that job is never done. In April, President Donald Trump issued an executive order calling for the review of all national monument designations occurring after January 1, 1996, where the monument exceeds 100,000 acres. Shortly after, the Department of the Interior confirmed that Giant Sequoia National Monument is on that list along with 26 others.
With the Trump administration passing its first 100-day mark, there came a whirlwind of commentary about how those first 100 days stacked up. Given that the 100-day measure coincided with Earth Day, the March for Science, Arbor Day, and the Climate March, much of the attention focused on the new administration’s stance on the environment. Last week, at the confluence of these events, the administration released an executive order, revealing a great deal about its perspective on the purpose and value of our public lands.
Arguello has worked at Redwood National and State Parks ever since, and he is now Joint Chief of Resource Management and Science, often collaborating with partners such as the League to implement restoration projects. Today, his foremost task as chief is much the same as when he was hired as a student so many years ago: help restore the park’s world-renowned redwood ecosystems.
There are those who have been grousing about how much rain we have gotten the last few months, but after witnessing the verdant grass languish under the Golden State sun last summer, I am grateful for it. Because of my affinity for rain, the promise of another rain shower after weeks of nearly constant rain didn’t dissuade my husband and me from continuing with our plans to visit Henry Cowell State Park.
Dollars may all look alike, but every dollar given to Save the Redwoods League has its own story. In memory of luminary and humble friends, loved ones, children, and parents, the League has dedicated hundreds of redwood groves. And last week, I came to remember what an honor it is to be a caretaker of these memories.