Press Release Aug 15, 2018

Management Plans for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Opens Door for Destructive Development Near Surrounding National Park Sites

Through these proposed plans, the administration is choosing the most damaging options of the alternatives presented.

BACKGROUND: Today the Trump administration released their proposed management plans for their illegally designated lands inside and outside the former boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The draft plans address the Shash Jáa and Indian Creek units of the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyons units of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, along with the Grand Staircase lands excluded from the monument through President Trump’s proclamation.

President Trump’s action last year to reduce Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half is illegal, wrongfully calls into question the value of these places, and blatantly disregards the will of millions of Americans. NPCA joined several conservation organizations to file a lawsuit challenging the Bears Ears order as an illegal abuse of the president’s power and is awaiting judgment on the case. Recent reports have also revealed that the Trump administration’s national monument review was a predetermined exercise, designed to prioritize extractive uses over protecting public lands and waters. Through the monuments review process, the Department of the Interior repeatedly ignored science, public opinion and native voices, local economic benefits monuments provide, and irreplaceable cultural resources at stake to arrive at recommendations to eliminate protections for our national monuments that belong to all Americans.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association

“The proposed monument boundaries in and around Bears Ears and Grand Staircase are not final due to the extensive outcry from the American people and numerous lawsuits filed, challenging the administration’s illegal attempts to do so. Until the courts determine where Bears Ears and Grand Staircase land protections stand, planning and managing for the sites in question are a waste of taxpayer resources and should be a nonstarter.

“The management plans proposed leave the surrounding national park landscapes - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon – vulnerable to destructive development. Through these proposed plans, the administration is choosing the most damaging options of the alternatives presented, proposing a direction that will knowingly harm Bryce, Capitol Reef and Glen Canyon through damaging off-road vehicle use, spreading of invasive species and mineral development. At Canyonlands, we are most concerned about potential damaging off-road vehicle use. Paving the way for destructive development like this will extend to the doorsteps of surrounding national parks, all at the expense of our nation’s most culturally significant places.

“The Trump administration continues to disregard the people who fought to protect these national monuments from the start, from tribal voices who originated the Bears Ears proposal and local communities, to businesses who benefit from these protected lands. We’ll continue to stand with the tribal community and millions of Americans to keep Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante protected as they were meant to be.”

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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 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.