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8 top places to visit in November (and why Trump needs to GTFO of office!)

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October 23, 2020

On the good, the bad, and why we need protections for our majestic public lands.

8. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The good: For all you off the grinders and cold weather lovers out there, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge is an amazing spot. There’s epic hiking, wildlife viewing, and camping but be prepared to be self-reliant. There are no roads, established trails, or cell service!

The bad: In the last four years, the Trump administration has removed (or is attempting to remove) protections from public lands like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 2020, Trump finalized plans to open up the ANWR to oil and gas leasing. That’s an existential threat to the Gwich’in community which has relied on the Refuge and the Porcupine Caribou Herd for thousands of years.

7. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The good: Yosemite during the Fall is glorious. With fewer crowds and milder weather, everything is more accessible. Its granite walls are more than twice the height of the Empire State Building. It’s truly one of the country’s most unique and irreplaceable ecological heritage sites because of glacial dynamics, weathering, and erosion spanning 30 million years.

The bad: Yosemite is part of Trump’s great dismantling of the U.S. national parks so that his administration can pursue what Trump calls his “Energy Dominance” agenda.

Trump’s “Energy Dominance” agenda is a fancy, deceptive way of saying that his friends at all the big energy companies need even MORE taxpayer subsidies, no matter how much destruction is left in their wake. Target number one? Our shared public lands.

6. Tongass National Forest

Tongass Forest

The good: The Tongass National Forest, at almost 17 million acres, is one of the largest undisturbed ecosystems in the U.S. Covering much of the Alaskan panhandle in southeast Alaska, the Tongass is a land of old-growth forests, mountains, glaciers, and waterways home to Native Alaskans. While it may be a bit chilly, fall is when its unique wildlife and beautiful landscapes really pop.

The bad: Currently, Trump is trying to open up the Tongass, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest to clear-cuts and logging by removing the 2001 National Roadless Rule. The rule is one of the most popular conservation measures of the last century. Trump’s directive, which will go for a final decision in the coming weeks, would fully lift the ban on the development of logging roads. This would open up the whole forest to clearcut logging on more than nine million acres of intact and old-growth trees. The Tongass is the traditional homelands of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people from time immemorial. Representatives from these nations have called out this proposal as “ignoring the sovereign Tribal governments.”

We need our legislators to enact legislation so nothing and no one can threaten our last wild places again.

5. Bears Ears National Monument

Bears Ears National Monument

“Monument Valley at Night” by John Fowler

The good: Fall is the ideal season to explore Bears Ears National Monument because of the beautiful colors that emerge. Its pair of distinctive, towering buttes “Bears Ears” stand against an amazing backdrop. There are ancestral cliff dwellings and natural bridges in the scaping desert ecosystem to carefully explore.

The bad: In 2017, Trump reduced the size of the Bears Ears National Monument — 1.3 million acres of historic land in Utah — by 85% for more oil and gas drilling. He did so despite fierce opposition by Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, & Uintah Ouray Ute communities who have been leading the fight to protect Bears Ears and its ecological and cultural heritage for decades.

4. Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The good: The Grand Canyon is always so epic and visiting in the fall means the daytime temperatures are cool and the crowds are thin. Two billion years of geological history have been exposed by the Colorado River as it cascaded through over time.

The bad: The uranium industry is hoping Trump will use executive action to overturn Obama’s moratorium on new mining near the Grand Canyon. This is a serious and immediate threat. Decades of mining in the region has already polluted the groundwater, fauna, and flora.

3. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante

“Grand Staircase-Escalante NM” by mypubliclands

The good: Holy bananas, if you thought Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument was already great — you need to see it in the fall. The changing of leaf colors mean all-new levels of beauty. It spans one million acres and has a spectacular Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces. It also has monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, and arches to check out!

The bad: In 2017, Trump reduced the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — nearly 1.9 million acres of protected land in Utah — by 47% for coal mining.

2. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

“Lake of The Angels, Olympic National Park, WA” by nick.mealey

The good: Get ready to be dazzled. Most of the year, the trees in the Olympic National Park are a mossy green but in fall, everything is speckled with red, orange, and yellow leaves. Over a million acres, it has a vast wilderness, distinct ecosystems with old-growth temperate rainforests, full-sky sunsets including glacier-capped mountains, and almost 100 miles of wild coastline.

The bad: Since 2019, Trump has been trying to open up nearly every U.S. coastline to expanded offshore drilling. While coalition groups have been able to block his plans so far, there’s no guarantee we’ll win the same battle twice.

1. Your ballot box!

Ballot Box

The #1 place to visit this November is your ballot box!

Public lands are traditional homelands of Indigenous Peoples who have stewarded this land for generations and are crucial to fight climate change.

Under Trump, public lands and waters are under attack for fossil fuel development and environmental deregulation. Handing these lands over to extractive industries is an unmitigated disaster, and a second term would be even worse.

We can’t afford four more years under this administration.

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