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July 2017 National Parks

My Take by Jim Rettig


You and I own a lot of prime real estate on the North American continent.  These lands are called national parks, national monuments, national wildlife refuges, national seashores and more.  And they all belong to you and me, from the largest (13,200,000-acre Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve) to the smallest (the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial at 0.02 acres), 407 of them.


You are perhaps aware that Republicans in Congress and officials in the Trump administration think we, the citizens of the United States, own too much property and that some ought to be sold, privatized, reduced in size, or disposed of in some other way.  On May 7, The Seattle Times reported that the Trump administration has ordered the “review” of 27 national monuments, which in the world of Republican politics is the first step in getting rid of them.  I personally find this outrageous.  Such an idea has never been suggested before.  Rather, this “greatest idea” of our country has only grown and blessed us all by giving every citizen access to some of the most scenic and sacred places this continent has to offer.  In these places every citizen can find inspiration, renewal, relaxation, silence, peace of mind, and can learn more of our common story and find joy in seeing the wildlife that is there.


So I am appalled that some think a few of these places should be dumped.  I say, “No way.”  If you think the same, write your Congressional Representative and Senators and tell them so.  Or sign and send a Citizens’ Petition to Mr. Trump and Mr. Zinke (Secretary of the Department of the Interior) which can be found in the EAS office.  Or do both.  Let them all know that selling off our public heritage is one of our country’s absolutely worst ideas.  Go visit a few of your 407 properties this summer!


Great Blue Heron by Mick Thompson

Photo: Great Blue Heron, by Mick Thompson.

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.