Mr. Trump is about to issue an Executive Order that imperils 1,018,114,328 acres of Public Land. These parcels of wilderness were originally preserved as National Monuments. Since the 1990s, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all contributed to the National Park System by setting aside land they deemed to be worthy of preservation for their scenic beauty and cultural significance. Now, with a new Executive Order, these National Monuments will be reviewed and possibly “un-designated”.
I find this absolutely sickening. Call your congressmen and senators and tell them you support the Antiquities Act and conservation. These National Monuments are the places that mean something to the underlying cultural values and beliefs that are the very sinew of the nation and its people. At one point, even the Grand Canyon was susceptible to the whims of commerce as miners and greedy hoteliers sought to privatize its vistas and minerals. But no, cooler and wider heads prevailed and saved the Grand Canyon for posterity. President Teddy Roosevelt swept the canyon under federal protection under the powers of the Antiquities Act, preserving the canyon as “undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.” And then Teddy Roosevelt underscored the meaning of conservation with a speech at The Grand Canyon: “Leave it as it is… man can only mar” what is a symbol of the natural wonders of the American landscape. The very idea that Mr. Trump would un-designate land that’s been deemed culturally valuable is so disturbing and antithetical to his hyperbole on “making America great again.” How do you intend to “make America great” when you devalue the physical parts of this country that are outstanding and sublime and special?
I hope Interior Secretary Zinke reminds the POTUS of the man he has called his hero on multiple occasions, President Theodore Roosevelt, and his words when talking about the National Park Service, conservation, and the parts of this country that already make this country great and worthy of our concern and respect.
88 years ago today, Acadia National Park was established, thus safeguarding some of the most majestic scenery and immersive wilderness in the US. It’s worth noting that Acadia was largely preserved because of private stewardship, and enterprise, mostly through the actions of George Dorr and John D. Rockefeller. Most of Acadia was donated to the government. It is disturbing to realize that such a beautiful place was ever in danger of being privatized and locked away.
But, here we are, about to embark upon an era where there are those that think that our national treasures should not be available to all and used, myopically, for cheap and easy profits. Those people are wrong. They will be revealed as wrong, in time. History is not kind to those that do not think of the future.
Preserving land, preserving nature, preserving the environment, and preserving the planet is our last best hope at preserving ourselves.
If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you most certainly know that Disney isn’t my only interest. Ever since my childhood, National Parks played a formative role in pushing me into a career in history and education and also served as wonderful destinations on many family vacations. When visiting these often grand and sweeping places, my desire to capture them in my memory and on film has always been pretty strong.
To do so, I had been using the tools that I could come by easiest. When I was a kid, it was a instant camera or a cheap Point and Shoot. As of late, I’ve been using an iPhone to capture images of the places I’ve visited. But as of last week, it looks like I’ll have the chance to capture photos with a a bit more finesse: I bought a camera! My good friend AtDisneyAgain recommended a Canon SX60 HS (what do those numbers even mean??) and it arrived on my doorstep on Friday evening. Come Saturday morning, I was already in Everglades National Park, trying my hand at taking pictures.
My goal? Take visually pleasing pictures of the places and things that matter to me in the style that I’ve always wanted to. I’m not overtly concerned with the techy part of photography, but more about the introspection and ability to capture an image how my mind sees it. Perhaps that will change over time as I learn more and can use my camera in more advanced ways. Perhaps it won’t. We shall see… and I’m very eager to take my camera with me and see more.