Take Action: Have a Say in the Future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The Bureau of Land Management is accepting preliminary input (known as “scoping comments”) on how to manage the recently restored Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is your chance to shape the future of this remarkable landscape for decades to come. Click here for more information and to submit comments by the September 27th deadline.
With Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument now restored to its original boundaries, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is beginning the process of developing a new management plan for the monument.
This is a once-in-a generation opportunity to ensure that the monument is managed for its unique and extraordinary values, as the plans won’t be revised again for decades. That’s why it’s so important that people like you, who know and love this wild landscape, take time to participate in the planning process.
The BLM is currently accepting comments as part of the scoping process. This is your chance to tell the BLM what issues are important for them to consider as they develop a draft management plan.
Here are some suggested points to emphasize as you draft your personal comments:
- The BLM must protect lands that qualify as wilderness by designating them as new wilderness study areas.
- To protect monument objects and values, the BLM should prohibit mechanical treatments of sagebrush, pinyon and juniper, and other vegetation, and should only use native species for restoration and post-fire seeding.
- For managing recreation, the BLM should return to using management zones as it did in the original management plan for the monument. The BLM should focus any growth and expansion of recreation use and facilities in frontcountry areas, while protecting and minimizing development of less-used, backcountry areas.
- Widespread off-road vehicle use should not be allowed, and no additional routes should be designated in the planning area. All motorized travel routes within the planning area that were closed or limited under the 2000 monument management plan must continue to be managed pursuant to that plan, and the BLM should take the opportunity to close routes that are harming monument objects.
- Cultural resources and traditional properties and uses should be protected and restored, including increased efforts to ensure Tribal Nations are proactively involved in the planning processes and resource management decisions.
- The BLM must protect visual resources, night skies, and natural and quiet soundscapes, all of which are among the most rare and pristine anywhere in the world.
The “Science Monument” and So Much More
The 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante has claimed its place as a crown jewel of our nation’s public lands. It was the first monument managed by the BLM to specifically prioritize conservation of cultural, ecological, and scientific values, and it is now world-renowned for its remarkable paleontological discoveries, stunning scenery, and outstanding intact and diverse natural ecosystems.
Since its original establishment in 1996, heightened protections for its geology, paleontology, wildlife, plant communities, and ancestral sites have succeeded in preserving these unique values for generations to come, and local communities on the monument’s doorstep have benefited as well. More than 25 years later, the numerous benefits of protecting Grand Staircase-Escalante are clear: the monument preserves a remarkable ecosystem at the landscape-level and sets the stage for future discovery about human, paleontological, and geologic history on the Colorado Plateau.