As Brent Rose stared up at the ancient petroglyphs in wonder, he noted that they were immaculately preserved, almost as if they’d only been carved the week before. Their artistry impressed him. The petroglyphs didn’t look like stick figures, but were well-fashioned and accurately depicted horses and silhouettes of ancient people.
Then, he stopped. He had noticed something strange.
There were small bullet holes covering the surface of the glyph: Someone had used the ancient drawings as target practice.
Brent thought this was a strange visual metaphor for the situation at hand: priceless relics on pristine land being destroyed carelessly, a danger that 26 other monuments around the United States face today.
Two years ago, Brent knew he needed a change.
As a freelance writer and filmmaker, putting down roots wasn’t a necessity, so Brent decided to invest in a van. He outfitted it with solar panels and took to the road, making his way from New England to the coast of Oregon and everywhere in between, totaling over 60,000 miles.
On a trip to Nevada, Brent heard about the threat to Bears Ears and other national monuments, an unprecedented move by the current administration to reverse actions set in place under the American Antiquities Act. He decided immediately to visit these 22 monuments over the course of 21 days, within mere hours creating the framework for a new organization, which he called 27 Monuments, to increase awareness about the threats to national monuments that much of the public is unaware of.
He fulfilled his mission 6,500 miles and 20 days later.
Though the public comment period- a time frame during which the EPA accepts statements by the public on proposed actions- closed on July 10th, Brent’s mission continues, as the EPA is still accepting feedback on five marine national monuments.
Brent encourages those passionate about protecting public land to write to their local congressmen, senators, and governors to encourage them to fight for the endangered monuments. He wants the public to realize how unprecedented this series of events is, as no president has ever tried to undo the protections put in place by a predecessor.
There will be major legal battles if the lands designated as national monuments are reduced, left unprotected against development, drilling, and mining, but Brent hopes that lawmakers will see the error of their ways before they go down that dangerous road. As he stood in the vastness of the land that makes up Bears Ears, aptly named The Valley of the Gods, the sun started to set, splashing pink, magenta, and pastels across the open sky. Places like this, he knows, make you feel like you’re part of something bigger.