A Threat to America’s Natural Beauty

Disha Sharma and Zachary Lentz

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The integrity of the Grand Canyon National Park and all other National Parks around the US may be in jeopardy with the Trump Administration in the white house. The administration just tried and failed to repeal a 2012 decision made by the Department of the Interior to ban and bar all mining for natural resources in an area of roughly a million acres of land around Grand Canyon National Park for 20 years. The failure of this repeal is not seeming to stop the administration from trying to remove the bar. The Trump administration is pushing to try to increase the mining of “critical minerals” this will most likely encompass Uranium. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has already made several moves to increase mining on public lands, with little to no regard for the effect it will have on the surrounding wildlife. If the ban on the mining is lifted, the government will continue to mine on public land with no regards for the effect that it will have, and America’s beautiful landscape will be thrown into significant disrepair.

Many of the students and staff around Wheeler are concerned about the impact that these decisions may have on our environment. Owen Powell is a Junior here at Wheeler, and when asked how he feels about the attempted removal of the ban he responded “I quite like the Obama era ban…. Trump’s move to remove it is appealing to the big corporations out there, and is leaving what the average American wants.” Powell would be right with his statement, around 6 million people visited Grand Canyon National Park last year if Trump continues these attempted repeals, those Americans who want to visit the park in the future might be in for a very different experience than they would have if they went right now. When Mr. Thronton, a math teacher at Wheeler was asked his opinion about the attempted Repeals, he said “America does need to tap into its natural resources; however, the National Parks are a no-fly zone” a similar response was made by Rex Martin, who is a Junior. Rex commented, “Our country does need more resources, but removing restrictions trying to protect our National Parks is a very un American thing to do.”

The Wheeler population is upset with how the Trump Administration is handling the protection and conservation of our public spaces, that many presidents before him have tried desperately to protect. His administration’s actions go against the American values set forth by Woodrow Wilson when he founded the National Parks Service in 1916.