Glenn Landberg

How have you taken action on public lands?

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Our friends and supporters know public lands are at a turning point. Even though more people than ever are discovering and enjoying public lands, a small group of lawmakers is working in statehouses and the halls of Congress to convert public property to private profit.

The good news? People all across the country are speaking up in defense of the land we all share. And if you’re among those who’ve written to your representatives, attended a rally, or helped spread the word, you’re part of the movement to defend public land.

Though there are challenges ahead, it helps to know we’re all in this together. Meet just a few of Trust for Public Land supporters who’ve taken action for public lands.

“So many people I encounter in Idaho think at first glance that a state taking over public land is a good thing. But once I get to talking with them, and have a chance to explain the hidden costs and tremendous risks of transferring federal land, their minds start to change.” – Heidi H.

Haislmaier familyPhoto credit: Heidi H.

Heidi is a mom, small business owner, and artist who moved to Boise, Idaho, with her husband 14 years ago.  She’d been working in environmental policy in Washington, D.C., but the Rocky Mountains were calling: “We’re big climbers, skiers, mountain bikers, and backpackers, so when we were looking for a place to settle and raise a family, access to those things was at the top of our minds.”

So when she started reading about efforts to sell off millions of acres of federally protected land in Idaho and across the West, she knew it was time to dust off her policy skills and step up for the landscapes she loves. And she’s had help: her three kids, Hawken, age 7, Adeline, 10, and Ben, 12, all joined in a public lands rally at the state capitol building in March.

“We had a great time with it. We stayed up making signs the night before, and had good conversations with the kids about what we wanted to say,” Heidi says. “And I think it was valuable for them to be at the rally and see how many—and how many different kinds—of people were there expressing their love for the land. I hope I can pass this sense of responsibility and accountability on to my kids.”

“I’ve always been kind of a low-key citizen: I vote and read and sign online petitions. But at this moment in history, with the rise of this movement to dismantle public lands, I am more active than I’ve ever been.” – Christian M.

Christian M.Photo credit: Christian M.

Christian, 30, is a graphic designer who grew up and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah—a state at the center of the battle over public lands. He spends much of his spare time in out in the desert, roaming the stark landscapes that draw millions of people to hike, bike, paddle, and climb in the state each year. “Utah has amazing opportunities for exploration,” says Christian. “Five national parks, not to mention millions of acres of Forest Service and BLM land that’s so spectacular it could be a national park.”

Christian was encouraged by the creation of the Bears Ears National Monument in January, but he knows that the fate of the monument isn’t set in stone. “A few weeks ago, the state legislature was considering a motion to request that the declaration be rescinded, which would be terrible,” Christian says. He headed to a hearing at the state capitol to voice his opinion. “I was surprised to see hundreds of other people there in support of keeping the monument—and only four or five people there to oppose it. It showed me that people care deeply about this landscape, and how mobilized we are to protect it.”

From Christian’s perspective, there’s a lot going on in politics that motivates him to take action—but public lands issues stand out. “With only so much time and energy, I choose to devote myself to defending public land.  ’ll try not to wax poetic about nature– I’m not good at that. But the wilderness is a spiritual place for me, a healing place, and I can’t imagine a life without it.”

“We can’t afford to take our eye off the ball. We can’t afford to relax and say, ‘Somebody else will do it’—you have to do it. And when you step forward, you never know who you’ll be inspiring to join you.”—Sheryl M.

Sheryl M.Photo credit: Sheryl M,

Sheryl, a retired landscape architect in Southern California, is no stranger to standing up for open space. She earned her stripes as an activist in the early 1980s, when worked to block construction of a freeway through critical wildlife habitat near her home. “I went to countless meetings, I wrote tons of letters, I stayed on top of the thing. And it worked—it took years and years of obstinate resistance, but we defeated it—and saved a beautiful place.”

These days, Sheryl says, it’s more important than ever to be engaged. “For years it felt like we were making some progress—in Southern California and nationally—on public lands. It’s like we were on cruise control, getting used to things happening the way you think they should. But the election and the wave of anti-environment, anti-public lands legislation that’s being introduced has made me sit up straight and get more involved.”

Sheryl volunteers at a local botanical garden, where she teaches about Southern California ecosystems. She’s a member of local and national conservation organizations, which keep her up to speed on rallies and other events. And she’s a vocal constituent, with both her senators’ offices on speed dial. “I call, write, or email them and just make my positions known. I often get responses, too, so I know my voice is being counted.”

Sheryl says if there’s one thing she’s learned from a lifetime of activism, it’s that these things take time, courage, and persistence. But she’s seen the results—on trails she’s helped protect, and in local parks where her grandkids play, and it’s worth every ounce of effort. “I’ve learned that persistence pays off.”

 

Have you called, written, rallied, or volunteered? If you’ve taken action in support of public lands recently, we want to hear about it! Leave us a comment here, or head over to our Facebook page. And if you’d like to support our work, there’s no better time: until May 31, when you donate to The Trust for Public Land, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar

Comments

E Joan Hennessy
Thanks for all you are doing to save our public lands. Trump just put a for sale sign on all Public Lands and I am crying. We need a national protest (but who is listening) The deck is stacked against us, but the house of cards will fall and I am hoping that we can cancel this out NOW. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
K.V. Schwartz
Tell everyone you know about the attack on our National Monuments. Take them to see federal lands nearby so they become fellow stakeholders. The national monuments threatened are: www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/26/24-national-monuments-threatened SPEAK UP NOW!
Rene Bobo
Save our public lands and spaces! They are ALL of ours, not for corporations' profits! We need these natural spaces, and the earth needs them, too. Nature is where I find peace, spirituality, love, health, and beauty that feeds my soul. These are MY spaces, as well as YOURS. Let's keep them that way for many generations to come.
Patrick Matriscino
Trump can go straight to hell...along with Pruitt..two of a kind...STUPID !!
Elsie Barone
I apologize for the lack of funds now so not able to donate money, I can donate time, voice, social media and what ever I can. I do want to be more involved.
Lori Schmerler
Not sure if the public land conservation wasn't working toward Agenda 21 to cattle herd the public in certain areas after they depopulate us to the Slave Society they need.
Norma
We have to save our public lands for the future
Marie A D'Amore
When will the destruction of our world, our wildlife, and free beautiful landscapes stop? WHEN! These people who want to always make a dollar...don't you have families...children...grandchildren? What will you leave for them? Who are you to keep buying and selling land that is meant for us all to enjoy. What a disgrace and so very sad....very sad.
Tracy Anderson
Please help save our wildlife and our environment! We need to take care of our planet.
Johanna Lisa Jones
Public Lands are an essential part of our national heritage -- precious and worth preserving!
Frank Discenza
public are our lands, not for corporate profit
lynn thorensen
I like many have always been the armchair environmentalist, although I do teach Environmental studies at a local Community College, I feel like going to rallies, signing petitions and donating to non profits is just not enough with this administration. We need to up the anti and reach out to those people that enjoy our public lands but aren't informed about the issues that are currently affecting them. Many people really do not have a clue about what this administration is trying to do. Either that or it just they are too overwhelmed and powerless to do anything about it so they do nothing. Our president does not have the legal power to do this , congress does, so we need to get out to our representatives offices, town hall meetings and write letters demanding that they keep our public lands safe and protected. Democracy is worthless unless you participate in it.
Jane Burnett
Keep up the good work! I am concerned about losing so many things I have taken for granted until now, but public lands tops the list. If we lose access to our public lands or they are damaged in some way by greedy corporations, my life will go dark, its purpose lost. I am more than angry at the very thought. I am infinitely saddened at the thought of losing all this great country really stands for, and I don't mean money.
Christina Anderson
I was born and raised in the West. It sickens me, angers me, and breaks my heart to see what is being done to our beautiful public lands. Too many people who voted for Trump, did so on a knee-jerk reaction. They, for the most part, have little to no idea that he cares nothing for any land, any animal, bird, reptile, or any person except his billionaire cronies and lining his and their pockets. I am sixty-nine and come under the classification of "old biddy", but I have marched, and will again, written my representatives, called them, signed petitions, and, in short, will continue to do everything in my power to oppose this arrogant, destructive administration.
tara wheeler
We have little left that is not already developed. Those are our national treasures; wildlife's national treasures; God's national treasures; the people's national treasures. We need to show care, respect, to everyone: people, animals, beings, nature, elements, spirits, etc . . . We had/have them during our lifetimes. The future of everyone should have the same chance we had. For the past, present, and future generations of all . . .
john Comella
We need to protect our wildlands, monuments and national parks. They inspire many of us and excite our children. We want to preserve them for ourselves, our children and granddchildren.

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