Press Release Dec 28, 2016

President Preserves Iconic Canyon Country with Bears Ears National Monument

Shares Landscape with Canyonlands National Park, Other Protected Areas

WASHINGTON – National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) joins the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, local Utahns and supporters from around the country today in celebrating President Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument.

The national monument protects a vulnerable region that shares the landscape with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Canyonlands National Park.

“NPCA commends President Obama for his action, which provides landscape-level protection and pays tribute to our country’s diversity and rich history,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of NPCA. “Designation of Bears Ears National Monument, adjacent to Canyonlands and other beloved national park sites, underscores the significance of the landscape and honors the Native Americans who have long-called for preservation of their cultural heritage.”

Protections afforded through the national monument designation will help prevent looting of significant cultural resources and preserve the iconic canyon country. It will also curb the threat of mining and oil and gas drilling within sight of nearby national parks, and safeguard the lands from irresponsible off-road vehicle use.

This designation also provides a management partnership between the tribes and federal land managers, including the National Park Service. The agency will lend its expertise in cultural resource interpretation and management of outdoor recreation values to the new national monument.

“This is a proud moment for Utah and the nation,” said David Nimkin, NPCA’s Senior Regional Director for the Southwest. “Bears Ears National Monument ensures the sacred lands of our first Americans are protected and appropriately interpreted, while also maintaining the ecological and recreational values of the landscape.”

NPCA has long advocated for the “completion” of Canyonlands National Park through expansion to include the area that was intended to be part of the park when it was originally proposed. Much of that area is included in Bears Ears National Monument and will now receive a higher level of protection with greater management input from the National Park Service.

In addition to Bears Ears National Monument, President Obama today designated Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada. The monument adjoins Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

“The designation of Gold Butte National Monument creates a critical link between Grand Canyon-Parashant and Lake Mead, enabling the Park Service to better protect the unique geologic features, resources and cultural history of the larger connected landscape,” said Lynn Davis, Senior Program Manager of NPCA’s Las Vegas office. “Those on the ground in Nevada, many of whom have spent years advocating for this monument, should be commended for all the work they’ve done to make today’s designation a reality.”


About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit

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