Back in April, President Trump ruffled some feathers with outdoor enthusiasts (and pretty much 90% of the general public, according to the public comments), when he earmarked 27 National Monuments for review. The review was supposed to determine whether the monuments contained too much land, or whether the entire monument land should receive government protection at all.
Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement today that the 460,000 acre Craters of the Moon in Idaho and the 195,000 acre Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington state were ‘no longer under review.’
When the President and I began the monument review process we absolutely realized that not all monuments are the same and that not all monuments would require modifications. Today I’m announcing that the Craters of the Moon and Hanford Reach National Monuments review process has concluded and I am recommending no changes be made to the monuments.
As an Idaho resident and frequent visitor to Craters of the Moon, I was ecstatic to hear the news that this incredibly unique Monument will be left as is.
As a former geologist, I realize Craters of the Moon is a living timeline of the geologic history of our land on the Great Rift. Whether it’s hiking up the alien-like lava flows along the Spatter Cones, or just driving through the scenic loop, there’s a lot to see and learn at this historic location.
Now, this is great news for those of us that have advocated for the saving of these monuments. We even told you about the guy who drove almost nonstop to visit 22 of the monuments in 22 days. But, as with most things in government, it’s hard to accept the words and believe that these monuments will be left alone in the future. But for now, it seems that 655,000 acres of beautiful land in the Pacific Northwest will remain as is.
But with very little transparency on how the review is being conducted or why the recommendations are being made, it’s a frustrating experience for those who are fighting to keep them as is.
And it is worth noting, these recommendations are just that…recommendations. The final decision lies with the President of the United States. So stay tuned. This may not be over yet.
Here are some more of my photos of Craters of the Moon National Monument.