NPCA, along with our more than 1.6 million members and supporters and park advocates across the country spoke out and fought tirelessly to protect all that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and the surrounding national parks hold. Our voices were heard.
NPCA commends President Biden and his administration for taking action to review and restore protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Any attempt to remove protections for even one of our national monuments is illegal, and we can never let this happen again.
In December 2017, President Trump signed two proclamations attempting to remove federal protections from roughly 2 million acres of land in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. This act, which NPCA maintains is illegal, was the largest reduction of public lands protections in U.S. history. This action opened up the lands inside the reduced monument boundaries to off-road vehicle use, habitat destruction and other potentially harmful development. Hundreds of sacred and cultural sites were made vulnerable and extraordinary troves of scientific and paleontological resources were put at unnecessary risk.
The boundary reductions also left the national park sites that surround the monuments - Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands National Parks, Capitol Reef National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Natural Bridges National Monument - vulnerable to mining and oil and gas development, incompatible rights of way, increased off-highway vehicle access and other uses that failed to protect the natural and cultural resources for which these places were designated.
That’s why NPCA celebrates restoration of the original 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as designated by President Clinton and expanded by Congress and protection of the original 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument designated by President Obama in 2016. These protections stretch far beyond the monuments’ boundaries, protecting the entire national park landscape, as well as their air and water quality, dark night skies, expansive viewsheds, and the multimillion-dollar economy they support.
NPCA stand with Tribes to support a meaningful Tribal co-management component to a new Bears Ears Monument Management Plan with a priority to incorporate important traditional knowledge with Tribal engagement.
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