How One Conservative Filmmaker Is Speaking Out Against Shrinking National Monuments

Jan 12, 2018

Ron Maxwell was born in 1949. Throughout his career as a filmmaker, including directing civil war epic Gettysburg, he’s been politically active as a conservative.

In December, he wrote an article opposing the decision to shrink Bears Ears and Grande Staircase-Escalante in The American Conservative.

“In this case, I think Secretary Zinke has made a big mistake, and Donald Trump, as much as I support him and wish him to be successful, has made a big mistake as well,” Maxwell said.

His perspective on the issue contrasts with that of many conservatives: Maxwell believes that in the last 25 years, environmentalism has been adopted by the left and surrendered by the right. He doesn’t see shrinking national monuments as being truly in line with conservative values.

“There’s nothing in conservative philosophy which says we should not be custodians and caretakers of our natural environment,” Maxwell said. “Conservatives used to understand this universally. It was President Nixon who started a lot of these programs. There’s nothing left-right about protecting nature and our homeland and our environment and our natural habitat.”

Maxwell argues that shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante supports special interests, not the values of most Americans.

“I think the American people, by overwhelming majorities, don’t want our national parks or national monuments tampered with,” he said.