FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2017
Local leaders call on President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on America’s national monuments
SALT LAKE CITY, UT—The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America RV road tour stopped in Utah today, where leaders urged President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop the assault on popular national monuments that boost local economies. The event marked the final stop on a six-state road trip to raise awareness about the threats currently facing national monuments.
During a press briefing at the Patagonia Outlet, business leaders, outdoor advocates, and elected officials discussed how national monuments and other protected public lands help create jobs, support the local economy and define the West’s outdoor way of life.
Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director, Center for Western Priorities:
“We’ve traveled more than 2,000 miles, stopping in six states, and have found that Westerners of all stripes support our national monuments. I’m proud to stand here today to show our support for national monuments and to call on Secretary Zinke to leave our monuments alone.”
Representative Angela Romero, Utah House of Representatives:
“When we talk about our Bears Ears, it means something more to me than just a monument. It means respecting the ones that came before us and respecting the land. I am worried about what the Trump administration is going to do with our lands. Study after study has shown national monuments help our small businesses expand and grow.”
Braidan Weeks, Communications Coordinator, Utah Diné Bikéyah:
“It is so important to native people that our history and culture are preserved and protected within Bears Ears National Monument. We’re going to continue to work towards preserving our culture.”
Janine Donald, Executive Director, Elements Traverse:
“As small business owners, our livelihoods are absolutely connected to public lands and access to them. But you can’t put a pricetag on the connection we feel when we recreate with our friends and families on public lands. We hope our elected officials here how important it is to us that these places are preserved.
Micaela O’Leary, Assistant Store Manager, Patagonia:
“Patagonia believes public lands should remain in public hands. We have a vested economic interest in public lands, they are necessary for our business and our industry to survive.”
In late April, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to review 27 national monuments protected over the last 21 years. Every indication from President Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and politicians close to them is that the outcome is preordained and the review will lead to attempts to shrink or eliminate national monuments. Rolling back national monument protections through executive action is an unprecedented, and likely illegal, move that puts all of America’s protected lands, parks, forests and monuments at risk.
Two of Utah’s national monuments are among the 27 monuments threatened under President Trump’s executive order.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is described by the Utah Office of Tourism as a vast landscape of “of colorful sandstone cliffs soaring above narrow slot canyons, picturesque washes and seemingly endless slickrock.” It is home to prehistoric village sites and features an extensive network of backcountry trails.
Bears Ears National Monument holds one of the highest densities of Native American archaeological rarities and cultural sites in the United States. It’s designation as a national monument was the result of a decades-long effort by local tribal nations to protect and recognize their historical lands.
The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America tour is a six-state RV road-trip highlighting national monuments across the West that are threatened by President Trump’s executive order. The tour is wrapping up at the final Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. Outdoor Retailer is leaving Salt Lake City for Denver Colorado after 20 years in protest of Utah politicians’ anti-public lands agenda.
This spring, the Center for Western Priorities launched a multi-state ad campaign encouraging national leaders to respect the heritage and history of America’s national monuments.