Mathew Gross, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance


  • June 13th, 2017

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s interim report on the fate of Bears Ears National Monument was released yesterday—and it isn’t good.

    As expected, Zinke recommends that President Trump dramatically shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument—though he doesn’t say specifically by how much, or where. Instead, he punted the details of how he’ll recommend Trump chop up the monument to his final report, due in August.

    The fact is, the president doesn’t have the authority to reduce the monument. Any attempt by Trump to reduce Bears Ears would immediately wind up in court.

    But there’s still time to defend Bears Ears. And now that Zinke has made his intentions clear, your voice is more important than ever.

    Click here to submit your comments now.

    Bears Ears cultural site. Copyright Tim Peterson

    Despite virtually ignoring previous public comments which favored keeping Bears Ears intact by a 9-1 margin, Secretary Zinke has extended the comment period for Bears Ears. Even if you’ve commented before, now is your chance to tell Zinke what you think of his plan to drastically reduce Bears Ears National Monument.

    Remind Secretary Zinke that:

    •  The President doesn’t have the authority to modify the monument’s boundaries. Only Congress can do that.

    •  Bears Ears National Monument was a significant achievement for the historic coalition of Tribes that came together to advocate for its protection.

    •  It is the first national monument to include traditional knowledge as an object worthy of protection in the monument proclamation. And every inch of Bears Ears is necessary to preserve the more than 100,000 archaeological sites therein.

    •  It is a remarkable wilderness landscape. Beyond the monument’s namesake twin buttes are world-renowned wilderness treasures like White Canyon, Indian Creek, and Comb Ridge. Myriad plant and animal species thrive in its varied habitats. And you’d be hard pressed to find the solitude provided by these areas elsewhere in the lower 48.

    Secretary Zinke tried to mask the brutality of his recommendation by calling on Congress to make parts of Bears Ears a National Conservation Area and to give Tribes co-management of whatever crumbs remain of the monument after Trump dices it up. But that’s not just kicking the can down the road—that’s kicking it into the abyss. Congress has had 111 years to protect Bears Ears, and it has completely failed to do so.

    Please, take a moment today to let Secretary Zinke know what you think about his plans for Bears Ears.

    Thank you for taking action.

  • May 18th, 2017

    Last week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came to Utah to “review” Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments — and SUWA supporters were on the ground to meet him in force.

    The day before he arrived, more than 3,000 people rallied at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City to show their support for Utah’s wild lands and monuments. More than 500 showed up the next day at the BLM offices while Sec. Zinke held a perfunctory meeting with tribes. And when he showed up at Butler Wash Ruin in the middle of Bears Ears National Monument, nearly 70 supporters were on hand with signs and banners urging him to leave our monuments alone. An additional 300 people rallied the next day in Kanab to show their support for Grand Staircase-Escalante.

    But even though Sec. Zinke has left the state, we can’t let up — we need to bring the message directly to him and to President Trump to leave our monuments alone. That’s why SUWA is running full page ads today in both The New York Times and The Washington Post.

    Click on the image above to see the ad in full (opens in PDF).

    Although Zinke’s “listening tour” was decidedly one-sided, we’re not going to leave anything on the field in our efforts to protect our monuments — and to convince President Trump and Ryan Zinke to ignore the caterwauling of Utah politicians and leave Bears Ears and Grand Staircase intact.

    Help us keep up the fight to protect Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante by making a contribution today!

    We rely on your continued support to keep up this fight — on the ground, in the courts, and in the media.

    Thank you for standing up for the redrock.

    Also, if you haven’t already done so, please submit your public comment to Sec. Zinke about Bears Ears! The comment period ends a week from today! SUWA.org/comment

  • February 17th, 2017

    Utah politicians are continuing their rabid attack on Bears Ears National Monument—but not without consequences.

    Yesterday, after a disastrous phone call between Utah Governor Gary Herbert and outdoor recreation industry leaders, Outdoor Retailer—the huge outdoor rec convention held twice a year in Salt Lake City—announced that they would be leaving Utah as soon as possible, citing Utah’s anti-public lands policies and its efforts to convince President Trump to rescind Bears Ears National Monument. Outdoor Retailer’s decision will cost the state tens of millions in annual revenue.

    Still, Governor Herbert and Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop continue in their blind zeal to attack the new monument. These attacks on Bears Ears are out of step with mainstream Utah values.

    That’s why SUWA has launched a new statewide TV ad campaign to defend the monument—and to remind Utahns that despite the ideological rhetoric coming from Utah politicians, Bears Ears National Monument is good for Utah.

    Watch our new TV ad here:

    Bears Ears Ad Screenshot

    There’s no question that the Utah delegation will continue to wail about Bears Ears. And there’s no question that SUWA will be relentless in defending the monument. Please help us keep the pressure on by making a contribution today.

    Click here to contribute to the defense of Bears Ears.

    Thank you.

  • June 23rd, 2016

    Big news! This Past Saturday, as President Obama toured Yosemite to celebrate the upcoming centennial of America’s national parks, the editorial board of the New York Times endorsed the President’s use of the Antiquities Act to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument, writing:

    A monument designation would earn Mr. Obama the admiration of conservationists and the many Indian tribes that support the idea. It would also arouse the fury of the political establishment in a state where . . . powerful interests would resent the restrictions on off-road vehicles, oil and gas drilling, and other development that the designation would bring. But so what? Mr. Obama has nothing to lose politically, and everything to gain in terms of the environmental accomplishment.

    The editorial follows up on a front page story in the Washington Post on Bears Ears, as well as the second editorial in as many months from the Salt Lake Tribune calling on the President to designate Bears Ears as a national monument.

    Click here to add your voice and ask President Obama to #ProtectBearsEarsNow!

    Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has publicly said that she will come to Utah this summer to discuss the Bears Ears proposal. That means that this is the time when it is critical that everyone who supports the tribally-led effort to protect this sacred landscape speak up and spread the word.

    Please start by sending a message to President Obama if you haven’t done so already.

    If you want to get more involved, join our Online Advocacy Team and we’ll contact you once or twice a week with sharable information and stories for social media. Your sharing on social media is critical to keeping up the drum beat and amplifing the call for President Obama to act to protect Bears Ears.

    To join, simply click here and fill out the form.

    Thank you!

  • April 28th, 2016

    On April 24, the Editorial Board of Utah’s largest newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, argued strongly for President Obama to designate a Bears Ears National Monument:

    Just about everyone who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting of the Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands was arguing for President Obama to order the creation of a 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah.

    So that is exactly what Obama should do.

    Add your voice to the Salt Lake Tribune’s and ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears now!

    Bears Ears Buttes (Tim Peterson)

    Bears Ears Buttes, copyright Tim Peterson

    The editorial was likely prompted not just by the wide grassroots support for protecting Bears Ears — throughout Utah, among Native Americans, and across the nation — but equally by “the attitude of commission members who [were] so dismissive, uninformed and short-sighted that they were actually, if inadvertently, making the case for Obama to unsheath the federal Antiquities Act [.]”

    As the Tribune editorial points out, Utah politicians don’t seem to understand that:

    . . . decisions made about this and other national monuments, parks and wilderness areas aren’t about Utah. They aren’t about the few who rule over the many in the Legislature or on the San Juan County Commission. They aren’t even really about the United States of America.

    They are about natural and cultural heritage and treasures that belong to all humanity. That the United States, by accidents of history and geography, happens to own that land and owns the duty to care for it in ways that make it available, first to the descendants of those who lived there millennia ago, then to the rest of us.

    Please ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears now.

    As the Salt Lake Tribune editorial concludes, “Obama [should] end the delay, the bickering and the suspense and create the Bears Ears National Monument.”

    The time to protect Bears Ears is now.

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