Dear Secretary Zinke and To All Others It May Concern,

I support the designations, in their entirety, of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Indeed, I support the protection of all lands, designated as monuments, parks, recreation areas, wilderness areas and other public spaces set aside for the preservation of the natural environment, as undisturbed areas and as recovering areas, for the future of Americans and America’s wildlife.

For the last century or so, the United States has been an example in the conservation movement. She has been a leader in environmental protection with the passages of laws and agencies such as the Antiquities Act, the National Park Service, the Wilderness Act, the Endangered Species Act and the creation of the EPA, to safeguard against pollution of waterways and air and to promote land preservation through monument and park designation, terrestrial or aquatic.

Henry David Thoreau said, “In Wildness is the preservation of the world.” I say with regret that wilderness and public lands are threatened by politicians who do not represent the people. The fossil fuel industry, if it had its way, would stab open the ground for oil, blast the last square mile of earth for coal, fracture every molecule of rock for gas. But the people want clean energy, to revitalize weakened ecosystems, to restore endangered species. Monuments and parks can help restore wildlife by providing a place for ecological, biological and evolutionary processes to occur. At a time when our world grows smaller, it is all the more crucial for the human spirit and psyche to have refuge. I make my plea to this Secretary and the Department of Interior to strongly stand for the preservation of these monuments, in the name of freedom and wildness. I echo the sentiments of my peers: Please prohibit new leases of oil, gas and coal operations.

The American West, so romanticized in a culture of pseudo rugged individualism, is an unsustainable myth that has caught up with us with the paradox and bedrock truth that we need the earth – not the other way around. Without a change in our hearts and minds, I fear we will destroy what we love and ultimately, ourselves. Public lands that offer solace in times of madness, destruction and uncertainty, should be the top of the government’s list of priorities.

With clear conscience and determined mind, I make my sovereign appeal in support of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase and all monuments of the United States, currently under review of the current administration. It is also my hope that the concerns and voices of the Ute Mountain Ute, Uinta Ouray Ute, Hopi, Zuni and Navajo peoples are heard and considered, for the land is of significant cultural importance to these communities. I also speak for those that cannot defend themselves: the puma, black bear, scorpion, red tail hawk, big brown bat, jackrabbit, coyote, desert bighorn, peregrine falcon, all desert dwellers and natives of this spectacular red rock wilderness, which is not a metaphor for the American dream – it is the American dream.

Thank you for your consideration.