With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, American citizens have had to slow down and focus on what matters most in life. We are turning away from demanding jobs and turning towards our family, friends and wide-open outdoor lands. Many Americans have taken up new outdoor passions with their newfound free time. Many are dreaming of opportunities to test their new passions in exciting wildlands. President Trump has a different plan for Americans. With the 82,000 acres of land up for auction in the Moab/Monticello area, Trump has made his agenda very clear. He does not value wildlands or spaces used for outdoor recreation. He does not want Americans to slow down and smell the roses of life. He wants us to speed up and become greedy for wealth and resources.

The destruction of these proposed lands would be devastating to past, present and future generations of Americans. It would show that we don’t value Native American ancestral land. It would set an example for future Americans that economic gain is more valuable than experiences in the outdoors. It writes the narrative that the United States is willing to destroy a community’s economy and culture, just for a few dollars.

Although the destruction of these lands for economic gain would be a great tragedy, the picture is larger than just these sacred lands. It would show how little Americans value outdoor recreation experiences. This is the time for Americans and politicians to voice how this country really feels. If you value public lands, speak up. If you value outdoor recreation in America, speak up. If you want to see your grandkids playing in natural areas and not on oil drilling rigs, speak up. These lands being up for auction gives us an opportunity. We can sit down and let the administration continue to speak on our behalf. Or we can stand up and tell the story ourselves.

Chloe Wirum

Anchorage, Alaska