The Sierra Club is taking an official stance on the state of the country’s national parks, and this is a big deal.
In a statement published Monday, the group called on President Donald Trump to declare a national monument in Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite is home to some of the most iconic climbing routes in the country, and it’s home to one of the best mountain biking trails in the United States.
It’s a popular destination for families, and its proximity to Yosemite is well known, so many people travel there for hikes, bike rides, or even just to spend time together.
“The Yosemite National Forest is a natural refuge, yet there is a lack of protection for our public lands, particularly in our most iconic national parks,” said Sierra Club national director David Finkelhor in the statement.
“It is time to restore the national park system to its rightful place as one of America’s greatest natural resources.”
Yosemite National park is home, in some form, to more than 100 million acres of land, and about 70 percent of that is managed by the National Park Service, according to the agency.
A lot of that land, however, is owned by the federal government.
In the wake of the 2017 wildfires that ravaged Yosemite, Congress passed legislation that opened up some of Yosemite’s national park land to private development.
But the designation of a national park is still very much in the works.
The Sierra is calling for the Trump administration to designate Yosemite as a national wilderness and preserve the region’s natural beauty for all.
The president has said he supports the idea, but has also called for a more active role in protecting national parks.
If Trump signs the National Wilderness Preservation Act, he would also have the authority to declare any of the area’s 1.8 million acres off limits to mining, logging, hunting, and recreation.
The BLM currently administers some of that wilderness, but it is a large, complex, and sprawling area, and a lot of the areas that have been designated are small, inaccessible spots.
The vast majority of the wilderness areas are managed by local governments, and most of them are located within the same borders of the United Kingdom and the United states.
The Trump administration has been moving to expand that, too, and the Sierra Club said it wants the president to give the BLM the power to expand national monuments to areas in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.
“President Trump has called on the BLM to do more to protect our parks, but in reality, we need the agency to act more forcefully to protect national parks and preserve our national wilderness for future generations,” said David Finkele, Sierra Club’s national director for parks and national monuments.
“A national monument designation would help protect our national parks by allowing the agency more flexibility to protect wilderness in areas with limited public access, and would give our national park communities more opportunity to preserve their historic and cultural resources.”
The Sierra Club also said that it is calling on the president not to designate national monuments in parts of the Western United States, including Utah, where the Great Basin is located.
Utah is home not only to many of the nation’s largest oil and gas deposits, but also a large number of Native American communities.
Utah also has a lot to lose from a Trump administration that wants to move away from the West, said Finke.
The Utah Department of Conservation and Recreation, for instance, has a $7.8 billion budget and has spent a lot on recreation projects over the last few years.
“We know that the administration wants to protect the West and its resources, but this could be devastating to the Utah economy, which relies heavily on the tourism industry and our natural beauty,” said Finkelle.
“This is the first step in making sure the Trump Administration is taking action to protect and protect our lands.”