370 article 370 Trump administration orders park rangers to stop protecting national monuments article 370 The Trump administration is moving to shut the National Parks Service, and it plans to eliminate a program that protects national monuments and historic sites, according to the Interior Department.
The move follows a federal court decision that the agency has been improperly restricting visitor access to the monuments, which were created during the George W. Bush administration.
The order was issued on Wednesday, the Interior Office of General Counsel announced in a statement.
It’s not clear what will happen to the National Historic Preservation Act, which the Trump administration said is “essential to preserving national treasures.”
Trump’s administration has been at odds with several federal agencies over how to manage the monument-protected lands in the nation’s highest desert, the Grand Canyon, which is also home to a number of endangered species.
The Interior Department, which oversees the parks, has argued that the monuments protect historic properties and are not part of the Antiquities Act.
The monument-protection programs in the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bears Ears, Bears Land and Grand Styx have been in place for decades, and the National Mall has hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Trump announced in April he would cancel the monument protections and replace them with a “preservation” plan, which he said would be more comprehensive.
“We need to go back to basics and just be focused on what we’re doing,” Trump said.
“I can tell you, the monuments are fantastic, I can tell people they are wonderful, and they are beautiful.”
The parks were created in 1956 and 1957 to protect a range of land that includes thousands of sites including the famed San Francisco Peaks, the Great Salt Lake and the Grand Tetons.
In 2020, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation directing the Interior to designate Grand Stairs as an “unexplored and significant wilderness area.”
He also designated the area a national monument.
The Trump order instructs the parks to immediately terminate the monument protection programs and start planning to conserve the land.
The agency plans to develop a “Planning and Implementation Strategy” and begin implementing that strategy, according the Interior department.
In addition, the parks will implement a comprehensive conservation plan for the entire park system, which includes establishing a conservation goal and a goal of conserving 70 percent of the parkland, according an Interior memo.