May 9, 2023

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

The Honorable Debra Haaland
Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20240

The Honorable Brenda Mallory
Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden, Secretary Haaland, and Chair Mallory:

Thank you for your commitment to the protection of our country’s national parks and public lands. As former National Park Service (NPS) leaders and members of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, an organization that represents over 2,400 current, former, and retired NPS employees and volunteers, we strongly support your America the Beautiful initiative.

Your dedication to reaching the goals laid out in this initiative – conserving 30 percent of our nation’s public lands and waters by 2030 – was apparent in the recent designations of Camp Hale-Continental Divide, Avi Kwa Ame, and Castner Range as national monuments. However, to fully achieve our conservation goals, we must do even more to protect lands at risk.

As former NPS employees, we spent nearly 70 combined years caring for precious natural, cultural, and historic resources at parks across the country. And as former superintendents at Grand Canyon National Park, we are well aware of how truly unique this park is. Today, at least eleven Tribes maintain cultural connections to the Grand Canyon: the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Indians, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Yavapai-Apache Nation.

We support the Tribes’ request to designate Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Tribal Nations have long been the original stewards of the Grand Canyon region, which holds significant cultural and spiritual narratives. They have been rooted in this iconic landscape where their stories and histories are told among the layers of rock and sand and in the water that flows through the canyon.

In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt designated the site as Grand Canyon National Monument, just two years after he signed into legislation the Antiquities Act. This decision to declare Grand Canyon a national monument protected an irreplaceable resource that would eventually be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, in addition to protecting natural, historic, and cultural resources, Grand Canyon National Park provides a huge economic benefit to the region. In 2021 alone, the park welcomed 4.5 million visitors and funneled $945 million into the economies of local gateway communities.

The federal public lands near and adjoining Grand Canyon National Park also protect thousands of archaeological artifacts, provide a home to incredible biological diversity and numerous threatened, endangered, and rare species, and offer countless opportunities for outdoor reaction activities.

While the resources within the boundaries of the national park have been protected for the enjoyment of future generations, the greater Grand Canyon region remains at risk from threats such as uranium mining, damage to cultural sites, and disruption of sensitive ecological systems by unmanaged use and development. Over time the monument designation will significantly protect Grand Canyon National Park.

This is why we support the designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Protection as a national monument will continue to provide visitors and future generations with ongoing recreation opportunities, while preserving cultural and archaeological areas and preventing damage from new uranium mining.

The designation of a Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument is widely supported among Tribes, the local community, conservation groups, and elected officials. As former stewards of Grand Canyon National Park, we encourage you to help ensure that irreplaceable natural, cultural, and historic resources are protected. We ask you to move swiftly and designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument through the Antiquities Act.


Rob Arnberger
Retired National Park Service
Grand Canyon Superintendent, 1994-2000
Steve Martin
Retired National Park Service
Grand Canyon Superintendent, 2007-2011


The Honorable Kyrsten Sinema, U.S. Senator for Arizona

The Honorable Raúl Grijalva, Ranking Member, House Committee on Natural Resources