How You Can Advocate for Public Lands

Rather than bury this resource deep in a story, let’s get straight to the point: Our public lands are threatened in a major way right now. Go here to email, snail mail, call, fax (search Google for “fax machine near me” for a laugh) your congress person to let them know how critical public lands are to our way of life. For us at Ibex this issue is especially critical; it’s even written in our own manifesto (see: Why Ibex challenges itself to make responsible decisions). You simply can’t put a price on these lands.

So, seriously. Leave this page. Now. What are you waiting for?

Now, once that is done, we invite you to keep reading. We don’t have to remind you of the impact the presidential election has had on this conversation but it certainly tees up a reminder to pay attention to how we got here and where we’re headed if we don’t stand up to the pressure.

How We Got Here

The United States National Park Service celebrated its one hundred year anniversary last year. It was an auspicious mile marker and signaled a public desire not only to explore the great lands of our once young country but also to preserve the magnificent landscapes, wildlife and natural resources that had been discovered in the process. The protection of public lands was built on a premise that has gone unchanged: our country’s resources should be used to serve the greatest good of the people. The “good” in this equation being the intrinsic need all creatures on this earth have to enjoy nature in ways big and small, inwardly and outwardly.

In 1872 Yellowstone National Park was declared the world’s first national park.

But did you know that just as old as John Muir’s environmental movement in the 1800s and his advocation for wild places to feed the collective spirit of America, then like now, there was dissension? People like Gifford Pinchot promoted “the art of producing from the forest whatever it can yield for the service of man.” Dear Gifford: we think of this as art (each sale of these t-shirts benefit the Conservation Alliance). Art is not oil and gas companies seeking to drill, frack and pipe ever more fossil fuels for their private profits.

Where We’re Headed

What these extractors face now are millions of voices against this philosophy. Ibex stands firmly in this camp and we urge you to make your voice heard; and if you’re reading this, you’re likely someone who enjoys the outdoors. Did you know that in February, Ibex CEO Ted Manning, along with 200 outdoor business leaders signed a powerful open letter from the Outdoor Industry Association to President Trump and Congress pleading for public land preservation?

In one particularly captivating passage the letter reads:

It is an American right to roam in our public lands. The people of the United States, today and tomorrow, share equally in the ownership of these majestic places. This powerful idea transcends party lines and sets our country apart from the rest of the world. That is why we strongly oppose any proposal, current or future, that devalues or compromises the integrity of our national public lands.” Continue reading. 

Theodore Roosevelt became heralded as a conservationist president and his words are no less true today than when he was in office. “We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

Canyonlands oil drilling

Drilling adjacent Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

The threats are real. Climate change, Keystone XL Pipeline, North Dakota Access Pipeline, Bears Ears National Monument; these are all topics that deserve our immediate attention, but they are only the most publicized issues of the day. Did you know if you pull back the veil of under-reporting by major media, you will likely find public lands issues in your own backyard that pose a danger not only to the greater good, but also to the well-being of your family, your friends and all our communities?

However you choose to make yourself heard, the key is that you take action. Call, write and tell people in power that you will not stand idly by while the threats to our public lands still stand.

Here’s that link again: Common Cause’s “Find Your Elected Officials.”