Amer­i­can his­tory: both nat­u­ral and man­made

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT • NEWS -

Sev­eral months ago, Pres­i­dent Trump hailed the sig­nif­i­cance of Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments which dot the Amer­i­can land­scape. Said he, “Sad to see the his­tory and cul­ture of our great coun­try be­ing ripped apart.” He was re­fer­ring to the de­bate in some com­mu­ni­ties about the re­moval of these mon­u­ments from pub­lic grounds.

So it is ironic and alarm­ing to see this same pres­i­dent green light the rip­ping up of pub­lic lands, many his­tor­i­cally and cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant. Over the past sev­eral months Trump and In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke have re­moved from fed­eral pro­tec­tion many acres of land which should be pro­tected.

For ex­am­ple, Bears Ears Na­tional Mon­u­ment in Utah saw over a mil­lion acres re­moved from pro­tec­tive sta­tus ex­pos­ing na­tive Amer­i­can ar­ti­facts to van­dal­ism and open­ing this area to des­e­cra­tion by prof­iters. This a pat­tern be­ing re­peated in Alaska, Ore­gon and Ne­vada. In short, our last re­main­ing wild places are un­der at­tack.

Over a cen­tury ago, Pres­i­dent Theodore Roo­sevelt used his pow­ers to pre­serve wild places. And to­day, we have the Grand Canyon and other places to mar­vel at and en­joy. What will be the legacy we leave to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions as Amer­i­cans? Amer­ica is more than casi­nos, ho­tels and golf cour­ses. Our moun­tains, rivers, deserts and wildlife all de­serve pro­tec­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, this ad­min­is­tra­tion wants noth­ing to do with con­ser­va­tion.

Make no mis­take about it, this ad­min­is­tra­tion plans to leave our na­tional parks, wildlife refuges and forests in tat­ters. I shud­der when I think what they may have cooked up for Shenan­doah Na­tional Park.

Again, to quote the pres­i­dent, it’s “sad to see the his­tory and cul­ture of this great coun­try be­ing ripped apart.”

LAWRENCE GIESTING Culpeper

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