The goal of #27Monuments is to raise awareness about the twenty-seven U.S. National Monuments currently under explicit threat. Our aim is to educate the public and drive people to the DOI Comments Page (now closed after raising more than 2.7 million comments). To achieve this, journalist/filmmaker Brent Rose is attempting to visit as many of the 22 sites in the continental U.S. as possible and document the journey on Instagram.
In April, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an executive order to have the Department of the Interior reevaluate the status of national monuments that had been designated between the years 1996 and 2016 (provided they were more than 100,000 acres). The Department of the Interior is now gathering information about 27 national monuments that fit those criteria and in August it will make its recommendation about which monuments should be reduced in size or lose its designation all together. This would open these lands up to being logged, drilled, mined, grazed, or otherwise exploited, causing irreparable damage. You can find a good, short article about this here.
While this issue is certainly politicized, we at the #27Monuments Project maintain that this is not a Democrats/Republicans issue. It's about ensuring continued access to these precious lands for all of us. These incredible monuments are not only home to a diverse array of natural wonders (including wildlife, amazing geological formations, and some of the most important archeological sites in the U.S.), but they are places where we can hike, bike, fish, hunt, raft, and camp.
Five of the threatened 27 are Marine National Monuments, situated far off the shores of the continental U.S. For example, one of the monuments is the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's ocean and the least-explored place on the entire planet. We know that underwater life is abundant here, but we haven't even scratched the surface. Yet it is in danger of losing its protected status which could open it up for underwater oil drilling.
The full list of the 27 monuments currently under threat are as follows:
To raise public awareness about these monuments' plight and the rapidly approaching deadline for public comment, Brent will drive to as many of these sites as humanly possible in his van Ashley (aka The Beast) before July 10, 2017. Brent’s friend Nick Furness, who works at Esri, used the extremely clever analysis capabilities built into Esri’s ArcGIS Online to figure out the optimal route for the trip (starting from Colorado, where Brent was when he came up with this hair-brained idea). His route is subject to change, but check it out below:
Each day, new photos and videos will be posted on Instagram to show off what makes each place special and to give the public specific talking-points they can use on the Department of the Interior comments page (update: comment period is now closed). If he is able to make it to all of the 21 monuments in the western U.S. he will be driving more than 6,000 miles while also exploring the monuments and shooting/editing/posting daily photos and videos for each monument in under four weeks. He hopes to sleep here and there but he is not particularly optimistic on that front.