“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
— John Muir
On April 26th, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that calls for a review of any national monument created since Jan. 1, 1996, that spans at least 100,000 acres.
There are 27 monuments on the White house's list of review. Perhaps the most threatened monuments are Grand Staircase Escalante (created in 1996 under Bill Clinton) and Bear Ears (created in 2016 under Barack Obama).
Why Grand Staircase and Bears Ears?
Both monuments are located in Utah and both monuments have coal or oil deposits that big industry would like to exploit for financial gain.
Most national monuments are created by the executive power granted to the president under Antiquities Act of 1906, signed into law by former president Teddy Rosevelt.
16 presidents have used this power to create 157 National Monuments for the American people to enjoy. A sitting president has never tried to reverse a previous president's decision to declare a national monument. Trump's executive order is unprecedented.
Monumental is a photographic attempt to raise awareness of America's public lands.
There is no question that American's are hard working people. Generations of immigrants have poured blood, sweat, and tears into making this country what it is.
Hard work must be followed by reflection and relaxation in order to create a meaningful life though. Without public lands, the people of the U.S. are missing out on an integral part of the American Dream.
The Monumental project was designed with a goal of documenting the vary lands that America is contemplating selling off to big industry for exploitation.
The project will be a collection of fine art landscape photographs and video shorts designed to spotlight America's finest landscapes in hopes of educating people on the importance of public lands and the role that they play in our nation.
Call To Action
There are many ways to stand up for our national monuments. Please Visit the Get Involved page to find out how you can make a difference in protecting America's lands.
My name is Mike Wardynski. I’m a professional Landscape photographer and instructor based out of Oakland California.
By nature, I spend a great deal of time in America's national parks and monuments. For the life of me, I cannot think of a better classroom.
When we immerse ourselves in nature, we begin to understand the essence of life.
It is my firm belief that the attack on the national monuments is an attack on the American People. I hope you'll stand with me and help ensure that our children's children have these places to enjoy.