Public Lands

Photo by Brigitte Lecroix

Photo by Brigitte Lecroix

From towering mountains to stark deserts, from glorious forests to wide open fields, God’s lands are an integral part of creation. Just as it was for the ancient Israelites, land is more than real estate or mere dirt under our feet. While land includes the gifts of soil, air, and water for material sustenance, it is also the foundation of human community — where we live, work, play, and find spiritual renewal. Public lands are the areas we already know and love: state and national parks, wilderness areas, national forests, scenic trails, national monuments, wildlife refuges, national recreation areas, and more.

landsmountainPeople of faith have a moral obligation to protect public lands so that all God’s children – both human and non-human – can share in the bounty that flows from them. We are called to speak out for justice while caring for the common good.

Along with our friends at Washington Wild and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, Earth Ministry/WIAPL is working with our local US senators and representatives to protect our wilderness nationally. We encourage legislators to support the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Support the Antiquities Act of 1906 

The Antiquities Act of 1906 allows the President to designate federal lands which contain objects of historic, scientific, or scenic significance as a national monument in order to prevent damage from commercial and other development. As people of faith, we must speak up to preserve current and future Presidents’ ability to protect our precious lands for future generations.

Protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund

sanjuanIn 1964, Congress made a commitment to the American public that a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling would go to outdoor recreation and conservation across the nation, as an offset for the depletion of resources that belong to us all. Yet, year after year, Congress diverts most of these funds for purposes unrelated to conservation.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is essential for our quality of life. The fund has invested approximately $530 million in Washington over the last 40 years to expand public access to lakes and streams; build sports fields, trails, and local parks; conserve working forests; and protect state icons like Mount Rainier, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, and the Yakima River watershed. Our faith calls us to ensure that Congress includes full funding of $900 million for this important program in the 2015 federal budget, and that the funds are used for conservation projects.

News and Events


Religious leaders meet with Congressman Reichert

A group of clergy and religious leaders living in the 8th Congressional District met with US Representative Dave Reichert on November 5. The meeting emphasized the spiritual value of wilderness for the faith community and expressed thanks for the Congressman’s longstanding dedication to public lands.
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Winter 2013-2014 Earth Letter is out!

Our latest edition of Earth Letter is out, and it focuses on public lands.
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This Land is Our Land: Faithful Stewardship of Public Lands

On October 26, a group of 27 faith leaders gathered at Fairwood Community United Methodist Church in Renton to kick off Earth Ministry’s public lands campaign.
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Information on Our Public Lands Campaign

This Land is Our Land: Faithful Stewardship of Public Lands

This Land is Our Land PowerPoint Earth Ministry's PowerPoint on public lands

Op Ed: Fund the great outdoors, by Rev. John LaMunyon

Further Resources

Ken Burns’ National Parks Religious Study Guides and “Clips” DVDs

Rooted in God's Word and Land and Out of the Wilderness publications by the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program with reflections, prayers, sermon starters, worship ideas, and activities for Christian communities around public lands

West is Best: How Public Lands in the West Create a Competitive Economic Advantage and West Is Best Infographic, a report by Headwaters Economic