We need to protect, preserve our national parks

As a state with three national parks of our own here in Washington, many of us are lucky enough to have personal connections with the National Parks Service, whether it be family trips to the Cascades or hikes up Mount Rainier.

As a state with three national parks of our own here in Washington, many of us are lucky enough to have personal connections with the National Parks Service, whether it be family trips to the Cascades or hikes up Mount Rainier.

These places that we love — and the places we hope to visit — need to be protected, and right now, it is President Obama’s job to make sure that happens.

Recent headlines have called President Obama a 21st century Theodore Roosevelt and a champion of conservation. Over the past two weeks alone, Obama permanently protected 87,000 acres in central Maine and nearly 300 million acres around Hawaii.

With the end of Obama’s administration quickly approaching, he has been picking up his pen and ensuring the places we love are being protected for generations to come, but there is a big one he is forgetting: The Grand Canyon.

Last year, more than 5.5 million people ventured from all around the world to see the beauty of the Grand Canyon, and more visitors are expected this year. Sadly, mining companies are pushing to open up the land around the canyon to dig for uranium and other metals, which puts wildlife, the Colorado River watershed, and the health of local communities at risk.

We need to tell President Obama how much we love our national parks and that we want him to protect the Grand Canyon and the 1.7 million acres around it to ensure it remains in all its beauty for generations to come. I urge you to join me in calling on President Obama to leave a legacy as the president who protected the Grand Canyon forever by creating the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.

– Becca Houske

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