I am opposed to the Bears Ears National Monument, I have been from the start. I thought it was cowardice for President Clinton to announce Grand Staircase from Arizona. I have heard the plight of the locals and their representatives regarding Bears Ears and Grand Staircase. I have been in a public hearing with Secretary Sally Jewell regarding Bears Ears, where a quarter of the people in the room (the protesters) were from out of state. This designation puts a target and an interest in this area. Interest is good when it is managed, but there is no money for management, there is no plan for management in place right now.
People clamored to say they want protection, but it was already protected under current laws and regulations. It is sacred to Native Americans, I heard Commissioner Rebecca Benally say recently (I am paraphrasing), “It’s the equivalent of having someone walk through, take pictures (and possibly take stuff) from the place you worship, while you worship.”
Tourism is a good part of the economic pie, but when it IS the pie there is an imbalance. Look at Garfield and Kane counties their economies have slumped when the Grand Staircase NM was designated. It gutted the heart out of both counties. Sure tourism is up, but everything else is down. Even the promises from the federal government to allow grazing to happen at the levels previous to the designation hasn’t happened. The federal government will continue to take and take if we allow them to. (Cue, “I am from the government and I am here to help.”)
I am all for conservation; the best conservationists I’ve seen are the grazers, hunter, and fishers. They put their money and time into making and keeping our wild as pristine and wild as it can be to be enjoyed by others. Are there bad actors, of course, but should the act of very few condemn the rest?
The Antiquities Act of 1906 states, “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” With Grand Staircase-Escalante designated at 1,880,461 acres and Bears Ears at 1,351,849, I find it really hard to believe that it has been confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
I will get off my soapbox now. I know others feel similarly and others not so much.
Bottomline, leave it a local decision with local control.
Add your voice by leaving your comments (see below). I hope you will take a few minutes to leave your comment. Here is how to do it:
Click Here: https://www.regulations.gov/ (The comment period for Bears Ears ends on May 26, 2017)
Type: DOI-2017-0002-0001 into the SEARCH BAR
Then just click on the blue “comment now” button and leave your comment.