Bears Ears report bad for public lands

Final decision on fate of Bears Ears and 26 additional monuments will come later this summer

WASHINGTON D.C. In an interim report released to the public today, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended President Trump revise the boundary of Bears Ears National Monument and give Congress the option of choosing how portions of the monument are managed. The recommendation could have far-reaching consequences for Americas public lands and the hunters and anglers who support them.

Attempting to remove protections for public lands by diminishing a national monument would be unprecedented in the modern era and may jeopardize other monuments, Corey Fisher, Senior Policy Director for Trout Unlimiteds Sportsmens Conservation Project. President Trump will still need to act on recommendations from the Secretary and we hope that the President sees the folly of actions that would harm our public land legacy and special places.

Trout Unlimited views presidential action to modify or diminish any national monument as undermining the Antiquities Act of 1906, a law that has been used by sixteen Presidents eight Republican and eight Democrat to protect some of Americas most iconic landscapes. While on occasion some presidents have diminished the size of national monuments, none have done so since the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in 1976, which reserved for Congress the authority to change or rescind national monuments.

The Antiquities Act has historically been a bipartisan tool for conservation to protect landmarks, structures and objects of historic or scientific interest. After signing the act into law, President Theodore Roosevelt designated more than 1.5 million acres of public land as national monuments. Since then, the act has been used to enable long-term conservation of some of the best hunting and fishing opportunities in the country.

National monuments are great places to hunt and fish. They are part of Americas public land heritage, said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “It is because of the Antiquities Act that places like Browns Canyon in Colorado, Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon or the mighty Rio Grande del Norte will remain part of our hunting and fishing heritage on our public lands. We aim to keep it that way.”

The Department of the Interior is taking comments on 26 additional national monuments until July 10. Comments can be delivered through Trout Unlimiteds action center.