Leaked documents provide a glimpse into Interior plan for monuments
Sportsmen and women say it’s past time for transparency in this process
In a set of documents leaked to the media, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke outlined an uncertain future for this country’s national monuments.
The story, which broke late Sunday, outlined a plan light on details but made preliminary recommendations for the Trump Administration to modify 10 monuments, shrinking the boundaries on four in Western States.
“While we realize these were marked as drafts and therefore may not be the Administration’s final recommendation, we want to remind the department of the overwhelming support this country has shown in favor of keeping national monuments as they are today,” said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “This draft report raises more questions than it answers and continues to leave the future of these protected public lands in limbo. However, one thing is certain: If the Trump Administration goes forward with recommendations to unilaterally reduce the size of certain monuments and open up others to extractive uses that are not compatible with values such as fishing and hunting, it would be an unprecedented setback on public lands and the legacy of conservation in this country.”
Changes outlined in the leaked documents include:
- Shrinking the boundaries on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon as well as two marine monuments, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. A specific reduction in acreage was not recommended.
- Opening up 10 monuments to development activities such as timber harvest, mining, commercial fishing and grazing. Monuments targeted for this change include the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.
- Potentially adding three additional monuments in Kentucky, Mississippi and Montana.
- Management plan revisions to prioritize public access infrastructure upgrades, repair and maintenance, traditional uses, tribal cultural uses and hunting and fishing rights.
Specific monument changes will be submitted should the President concur with the Secretary’s recommendations.
“A few of the preliminary recommendations could be steps in the right direction, but if implemented, the negative impacts of the draft overshadow the positive. Any attempt by the Administration to shrink national monument boundaries in one place jeopardizes other places revered by sportsmen and women such as Browns Canyon in Colorado and Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana,” said Corey Fisher, Senior Policy Director for Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. “What good is a conservation designation for public land that can be curtailed or eliminated at the whim of a future administration?”
Fisher continued, “It’s time for the administration to be transparent and communicate its intent for the future of our public lands. Secretary Zinke and President Trump are at a fork in the road. They can either choose wise stewardship of our public lands or choose to undermine America’s hunting and fishing conservation legacy. We hope that they choose the former and we stand ready to work collaboratively on management plans for national monuments that strike an appropriate balance of multiple uses consistent with the law. But we will vigorously oppose unilateral actions that undermine the Antiquities Act and jeopardize the future of all national monuments.
For more information:
Read “National Monuments: A Sportsmen’s Perspective,” which features profiles of four of the monuments under review and outlines a set of tenants for designating national monuments in a locally driven, science-based and transparent process.
National Monuments 101: The basics.
Monumental myths: Separating fact from fiction
A letter to President Trump from the CEOs at Trout Unlimited (TU), American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), National Wildlife Federation (NWF) IN SUPPORT OF Antiquities Act and National Monuments.
A letter from 30 of Trout Unlimited’s state councils to Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke