Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were designated national monuments because the landscapes and cultural significance of those regions are unique in America. A monument is defined as “an outstanding, enduring, and memorable example of something.” That’s exactly what those regions are. They are outstanding, enduring, and memorable examples of the unique American Southwest landscape that Native Americans called home long before Europeans arrived.
Donald Trump, who has ostensibly never set foot on a non-urban landscape in his life, and the corrupt Republican Utah politicians who listen to oil and gas companies more than their constituents (or, apparently, Utah’s healthy tourism industry, which would benefit greatly from these areas remaining national monuments) are forcing their myopic, foolhardy ambitions upon us by announcing and supporting, respectively, the intention to reduce the sizes of those national monuments.
Trump’s intention to shrink those national monuments is misguided and emblematic of his steadfast determination to undermine the carefully considered decisions of prior administrations, seemingly more out of spite than any carefully considered reasoning on his part. His remarks1 made it clear that he either didn’t know that hunting and cattle grazing are, in fact, allowed in Bears Ears2, or he did know and he lied to make it appear that he fixed something (that didn’t need fixing) to obscure the fact that this gesture is actually about opening these areas for commercial mineral exploration.
Hopefully, legal action will successfully prevent this latest travesty perpetrated by the Trump administration from becoming reality.
- “Families will hike and hunt on land they have known for generations … . Cattle will graze along the open range.” Source: “Remarks by President Trump on Antiquities Act Designations,” Whitehouse.gov, published December 4, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/12/04/remarks-president-trump-antiquities-act-designations.
- “Bears Ears National Monument: Questions & Answers,” U.S. Forest Service, accessed December 4, 2017, https://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/bear-ears-fact-sheet.pdf. In case the previously referenced Bears Ears document is deleted from the U.S. Forest Service’s website, you can access a copy of the document here: https://theanalitica.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/bear-ears-fact-sheet.pdf.