We're pleased to share these park updates with you.

Dear Friend,

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the holiday season and that you have opportunities to experience some winter magic in parks, monuments and historic sites in the coming months. Here’s the latest from NPCA’s Southwest Region: 

Celebrating National Monuments, Expanding the American Story
Alongside the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, other conservation groups and park advocates like you, this summer we celebrated the creation of Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. This monument is one achievement in an expansive effort to safeguard Indigenous lands and natural resources on public lands in the Grand Canyon Watershed. Our work continues to protect the landscape from uranium operations surrounding the Grand Canyon, including the Pinyon Plain mine, and prevent the development of more claims.

Another new national park site designated this summer, Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobely National Monument in Mississippi and Illinois, is a shared vision among surviving family members of Till and a host of valued partners to honor the memory of Emmett Till and his mother’s advocacy. NPCA is proud to expand our National Park System to preserve sacred places and tell the full American story.

Update: NPCA Stands Up to New Attacks on Chaco
In a disappointing third act to a momentous protection effort by the Biden administration, this summer Representative Crane (AZ-02) introduced legislation to reverse the 20-year mineral withdrawal around Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Fortunately, attempts to include Crane’s bill in the House Interior Appropriations bill were thwarted — it was voted out with bipartisan support. NPCA, along with our Indigenous friends and allies, rejects this attempt to perpetuate a toxic legacy of oil and gas drilling in the Chaco region. 

Creating permanent legislative protections for Chaco has never been more important. We ask you to speak up once again and stand with Pueblos, Tribes and communities deeply connected to Chaco Canyon: Support the Chaco Culture Heritage Protection Act

Moving Reservations Forward at Rocky
For Megan Tran, growing up in Houston provided few experiences in green spaces. When a friend offered to show her Rocky Mountain National Park on a trip to Denver this summer, she jumped at the chance. In her blog about the visit, Tran says Rocky Mountain's reservation system “was easy to use and enhanced our trip,” ensuring frustrating features, such as traffic and trail crowding, were not a part of her visit.

The Park Service recently announced the pilot timed-entry system Megan experienced at Rocky Mountain will return for the fifth year in summer 2024. (Reservation systems will also return to Arches and Glacier National Parks.) What’s more, we have the opportunity to advocate for this critical strategy for managing overcrowding to become permanent.

The Park Service is seeking feedback on the day use visitor access strategy at Rocky Mountain National Park. Send your story and your support by 12/14!

Utah National Monuments Defended by Federal Judge
In August, a Utah federal judge upheld the integrity of the Antiquities Act, affirming it gives the president broad authority to designate national monuments. The ruling dismissed two cases, led by the state of Utah, challenging President Biden’s 2021 restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to their intended acreage. NPCA was one of a few conservation groups allowed to intervene in the lawsuit supporting the monuments, along with several Tribes. To date, no court has been willing to reverse the designation of a national monument.

Take good care,

Ernie Atencio
Southwest Regional Director

P.S. Sit back and enjoy some tunes about the power of parks. Our “Park Sessions” videos feature folk and Americana music in national park settings, such as the stunning Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and relay the inspiration musicians find there.

Images from top: Condor soaring over Baaj Nwaavjo I’Tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument © Andrew Orr; Students at Chaco Culture National Historical Park on a field trip earlier this year © Shayla Blatchford; Winter alpenglow in Rocky Mountain National Park © Jacob W. Frank; Valley of the Gods in Bears Ears National Monument © Bob Wick | BLM