President Trump has declared war on Utah’s national monuments. Now is the time to act.
President Trump’s April 26th Executive Order requires a “review” of national monuments dating back to 1996. This bureaucratic speak hides the administration’s real intention: dismantling the protections put in place for our nation’s most treasured public lands. Included in the review are dozens of monuments across the country, but the bookends of the timeline are Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, making it clear that they are the prime targets.
The Department of Interior is now accepting comments to gauge public support for these monuments.
Help us save Utah’s monuments! Please click here to submit your comments and we’ll deliver them to the Department of Interior. We are collecting comments ourselves so we can ensure an accurate accounting of supportive comments to add to national totals.
Utah has been under siege from politicians hostile to protecting its wilderness for decades, but this action marks the most sweeping threat to the preservation of Utah’s protected wildlands. What’s worse, the Bears Ears comment period is a mere 15 days, meaning we need everyone to act quickly.
It’s important that comments be in your own words—the Department of Interior will count them individually that way. But to help you gather your thoughts, let us remind you of what’s at stake.
• Bears Ears National Monument was a significant achievement. President Obama protected the 1.3 million-acre monument in December at the urging of a historic coalition of five Tribes that had come 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.
• Bears Ears must never be shrunk nor repealed. If anything, the monument is not big enough. The Tribes had requested almost 600,000 more acres for protection. The whole tribal proposal should have been made a monument.
• 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 else in the lower 48.
• Grand Staircase-Escalante was designated in 1996. Since then, it has come to be known as the “Science Monument”—yielding several new species of dinosaur and other paleontological finds and providing habitat for 650 bee species, many that are endemic to the area.
• Grand Staircase-Escalante has incredible camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities. Places like Calf Creek, Peekaboo and Spooky Canyon, Coyote Gulch, and the Hole in the Rock Road are known the world over. If you have your own favorites, be sure to mention them!
• Polling shows more than half of Utahns want Grand Staircase-Escalante left alone. That’s added to the more than 80 percent of Westerners that the Colorado College Conservation in the West poll showed want existing national monuments left intact.
• Reviewing any monument is a political act, but especially when it involves one that is more than two decades old and flourishing. No president has ever taken this needless step, and neither should President Trump.
Please consider all of these points as you make your comments, and make sure to add your own! Tell the Department of Interior what makes these monuments so special.
We know this will take more time than usual, but it’s extremely important. Tell Secretary Zinke and President Trump that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante are here to stay!
Thank you for all you do. We can’t do this without you.