The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting scoping comments on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through September 27th, 2022. Please consider the following information when submitting comments.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated as a national monument in 1996 to protect the incredible scientific, ecological, and paleontological resources within its 1.9 million acres. The monument is a component of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), which was established “to conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations” and therefore the BLM is required to manage it “in a manner that protects the values for which the components of the system were designated” (16 USC 7202).

While preparing the new management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante, the BLM should consider the following:

  • The BLM must protect lands that qualify as wilderness by designating them as new wilderness study areas.
  • To protect monument objects and the wilderness, scenic, cultural, and ecological values of lands within the monument, the BLM should prohibit mechanical treatments (i.e., removal) of sagebrush, pinyon pine, juniper, and other vegetation. The agency should also NOT use nonnative species for restoration and post-fire seeding.
  • For managing recreation, which is not a monument object or value but is an important consideration, the BLM should return to using management zones as it did for the original Grand Staircase-Escalante management plan, which can provide guidance for future recreation and travel management decisions while helping facilitate visitor experiences. This management tool worked well overall to protect the monument’s objects and values for 20 years (before it was unlawfully reduced).
      • In particular, the BLM must focus any growth and expansion of recreation use and facilities in frontcountry areas where trails and facilities are already developed, while protecting and minimizing development of less-used backcountry areas (See report: Outdoor Recreation and Ecological Disturbance).
      • Special Recreation Permits and group size limits should prioritize the protection of monument resources. Again, the primary purpose of the monument is to protect the landscape and its scientific, natural, scenic, and cultural resources, not to facilitate expansive recreation, which has a high potential to harm these monument values.
  • 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.
  • 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. Widespread off-road vehicle use should not be allowed, and no additional routes should be designated in the planning area.
  • Cultural resources and traditional properties and uses should be protected and restored, including increased efforts to ensure that Tribal Nations are proactively involved in plan processes, site-specific resource management decisions, and in facilitating ways to protect monument objects and values while retaining traditional use of sacred sites and places of cultural importance.
  • To submit comments via our action center, visit
  • To submit comments via the BLM’s ePlanning page, click here (follow the green “Participate Now” buttons).