The BLM is accepting public comments on the Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyon Units and the Kanab-Escalante Planning Area (KEPA) of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument until November 30, 2018. Please consider making the following points when submitting comments.
To submit comments via our action center, visit https://p2a.co/nhNRupe.
To submit comments via the BLM’s webform, click here.
(To view our story map about Grand Staircase-Escalante, click here.)
President Trump’s proclamation reducing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Proclamation 9682) is unlawful and will be overturned by a court of law. The Antiquities Act only grants a president the authority to designate national monuments, not to revoke or diminish them.
SUWA believes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should abstain from management planning until a court has ruled on the legality of President Trump’s action.
However, the BLM is proceeding with management plans for Grand Staircase-Escalante, and they need to hear from monument supporters like you.
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’s unique resources are inspiring, and its geological and paleontological wonders deserve protection to ensure scientific and recreational opportunities for people who come from near and far.
The Bureau of Land Management should continue to manage for the entire 1.9 million acre area under the existing 1999 Monument Management Plan — choosing the no action alternative in its current planning process — instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on plotting to destroy this amazing landscape and risk the resources that the BLM continues to acknowledge deserve protection.
While preparing the current management plans, BLM should prioritize the following:
- BLM should not open any lands to irreversible damage from oil and gas development, coal and other mining, energy infrastructure, and widespread off-road vehicle use. Designating the Little Desert area as an open off-road vehicle “play” area is unacceptable and should not be permitted.
- BLM should manage lands with wilderness characteristics to protect wilderness values, as this provides protection for paleontological resources, scenic vistas, and other irreplaceable Monument objects.
- All motorized travel routes within the planning area that were closed or limited under the 1999 Monument management plan must continue to be managed pursuant to that plan and 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.
- BLM should not include any alternative that considers putting public lands up for sale or disposal.
- To protect Monument objects and the wilderness, scenic, cultural, and ecological values of lands within the planning area, BLM should prohibit mechanical treatments of sagebrush, pinyon and juniper, and other vegetation, nor should BLM should use nonnative species for restoration seeding.
- The entire planning area is one of the most scenically-pristine areas in the United States, including for nighttime dark skies. BLM should not downgrade the scenic classifications (VRM) for lands within the planning area.
- BLM may take the opportunity to consider new proposals consistent with protecting Monument objects, such as designation of new areas of critical conservation concern, adopting a sustainable approach to grazing, or developing adaptive approaches to climate change.
- BLM should keep the Monument and KEPA closed to casual collection of fossils. As BLM admits, this approach damages fossils and risks irreversible destruction to both known and yet to be discovered resources.