National Monuments encompass some of the most inspiring and historical landscapes around the country. Permanently protecting these special spaces bolsters local economies, preserves our natural heritage, increases access to the outdoors, and fosters vibrant communities. In early 2023, The Conservation Alliance brought together a coalition of businesses to call for the designation and expansion of national monuments throughout the west, Mobilizing for Monuments.
In November, The Conservation Alliance and our partners Flickr, Rivian and Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project hit the road to bring these landscapes to life and share how national monuments benefit economies and communities alike. From Colorado to California, the Mobilizing for Monuments Road Trip visited five breathtaking landscapes bringing together conservation champions, politicians, TCA grantees, and community leaders to make the case for designating and expanding these wild places. The tour included:
- Dolores River Canyon Country
- Baaj Nwaav I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument
- Avi Kwa Ame National Monument
- The proposed Chuckwalla National Monument
- San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
Beyond our fleet of Rivians, the road trip was powered by on-the-ground leaders, the communities we visited, monuments we’re working to protect – and a lot of snacks!
The Power of Partnership
Flickr, Rivian, and Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project played pivotal roles in making this road trip a success. The photographers at Flickr immortalized the beauty we witnessed, while Rivian’s electric vehicles showcased the potential for sustainable transportation in our conservation efforts. Leadership from Nuestra Tierra enabled us to ground ourselves in each community, allowing us to explore narratives and experiences centered on these landscapes that have far-too-often been left behind.
We witnessed the Dolores River’s majestic buttes, the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon in the nation’s newest national monument, iconic Joshua tree forests in Avi Kwa Ame, vibrant desert sunsets painting the Chuckwalla Valley, and the heartwarming scenes of people embracing the outdoors in San Gabriel Mountain National Monument. The power of on-the-ground experiences and in-person convenings across the region cannot be overstated when it comes to advocating for conservation, and at each stop, we captured the compelling stories of the land, local businesses, and the community.
One of the most rewarding aspects of our road trip was connecting with local businesses and communities along the way. We found that businesses – both large and small – are increasingly recognizing the economic benefits of conservation and outdoor access. From outdoor recreation to tourism and hospitality, these monuments contribute significantly to local economies, and communities are speaking up for their protection not only for their natural values but also for their economic significance.
Throughout the Road Trip, we had the privilege of meeting with youth advocates, recreationists, mayors, and local champions who dedicate their time and talent to fighting for permanent protection of these landscapes. We thank our member companies for utilizing their business voices to advocate for our conservation goals, and we extend deep gratitude to the local organizations who are working tirelessly to protect these landscapes for future generations.
Monuments Unite Us All
As we wrapped up the Mobilizing for Monuments Road Trip, it was clear that the journey was much more than simply visiting beautiful places. It was a celebration of unity – a realization that businesses, communities, and individuals are standing together in support of national monument designations.
The Road Trip ignited a passion for conservation and outdoor access in the hearts of everyone who joined us. Together, we’ve proven that celebrating our natural wonders isn’t just good for our planet, climate, and economy – but protecting public lands is pivotal for communities and people. As the group gathered to charge up our Rivians for the last time and the trip wrapped up, we began to reflect on our shared work moving forward and how we will work together to build a future where the call for conservation echoes at the local, state, and national levels louder than ever before.
Spreading the Word
For the remainder of the year, and throughout 2024, we will be spreading the Mobilizing for Monuments message far and wide. Through social media, photography, and engaging discussions, we will continue to amplify the message that landscape-scale protections are not only essential for our environment, but can also have positive impacts on a businesses’ bottom lines. What can you do to help? Join the dozens of other businesses in pledging to stand up for national monuments here.
We hope that the Road Trip not only plays a role of amplifying important stories about public lands and the local communities surrounding them, but also that it inspires you to engage in our work.
We owe a great amount of gratitude to the partners, grantees and members who made this trip possible: