This Saturday is National Public Lands Day. Celebrate a day early with the YouTube release of “Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands,” airing Friday, September 25 at 6 p.m. MST. (Watch the trailer here.)
Executive producers Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia), Robert Redford, and Patagonia Films introduce three land-based conflicts in Utah, Minnesota, and Alaska, driving home the argument that these public lands, and the shared American experience and heritage they represent, must be protected for future generations.
“Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations,” Redford said in a press release. “Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits…. Public Trust … [is] a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage.”
And according to a 2019 Conservation in the West Poll, a lot of us do want to preserve that heritage. Their research found that voters advocate for Congress emphasizing conservation on national public lands by a three-to-one margin. The film is clear that this voice, our voice, is not currently holding weight at the national level.
“If the oil companies and this administration continue to choose rigs over your kids’ future, we will lose what’s left of our shared 640 million acres,” Chouinard said. “Imagine our country without our public lands, without protected parks and streams, wilderness and other wild places. Public Trust is a must-see for everyone who enjoys spending time in wild places.”
The film has won a slew of awards, including the Big Sky Award at the 2020 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Audience Choice Award at the 2020 Mountainfilm in Telluride, and was selected for next month’s Camden International Film Festival.
Still unsure? Here’s a ringing endorsement from Edward Norton: