What’s better than a cross-country road trip? Saving public lands while you do it. That’s exactly what KEEN Footwear hopes to achieve with its #LiveMonumental campaign this summer.
The goal: KEEN will strive to collect 100,000 signatures on a petition to protect roughly 3 million acres of land. The areas are made up of public lands, including Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds, Nevada’s Gold Butte, California’s Mojave Desert, West Virginia’s Birthplace of Rivers, and Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands.
National monuments receive stronger protection and more permanent funding than public lands, and a lot of the decisions for how public lands are used are based on extractions, Linda Balfour, Brand Marketing Director at KEEN, says. Decisions on land use ride on things like oil, gas, and logging. "All of these are super essential to our economy," says Balfour. "But very quickly, the economic argument for those starts to overrun the good and the importance of the environmental lands."
Designating the five areas national monuments would allow the parks will remain public wilderness areas. "By setting aside specific areas for their environmental and recreational value, we're ensuring ourselves a balance of how our lands are used," says Balfour.
To drum up attention for their campaign, KEEN is setting off cross-country in a yellow 1977 GMC RV, beginning July 29. They’ll make stops in more than 25 cities, including each area they hope to protect. Through a mix of camping, trail work, live music, and more, KEEN plans to educate the public on the importance of preserving public land and collect signatures for their petetion.
The Live Monumental tour will end in Washington D.C., in September, where KEEN will deliver the petition to the Obama Administration, in person. The KEEN team hopes they will designate the five areas national monuments before then end of President Obama's term in office.
"The most important thing is understanding the importance of protecting to places we play," says Balfour. "And understanding what happens at a national monument: people can hunt, and fish, and mountain bike, and bring their dog. These designations are for people, for recreation, and for the environment."
To get involved, log on to Live Monumental's website and sign the petition to make the 3 million acres national monuments. You can also spread the word by sharing your own outdoor adventures and love for public land on social media, using the hashtag #LiveMonumental.
Want to know more? Check out this short video about the campaign: