FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2017
Fruita Mayor, outdoor leaders call on Interior Secretary Zinke to support and protect public lands, national monuments
GRAND JUNCTION, CO—The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America RV road tour stopped in Grand Junction today, where leaders urged President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop the assault on popular national monuments that boost local economies.
During a press briefing at Las Colonias Park Amphitheater, 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.
Greg Zimmerman, deputy director, Center for Western Priorities:
“The very idea of shrinking or eliminating national monuments violates the sacred promise behind America’s protected public lands. Our national parks, forests and monuments are meant to be forever, not temporary. Breaking that promise sends us down an unprecedented path that puts all of our treasured outdoor spaces at risk. We are calling on President Trump and Secretary Zinke to respect America’s public lands and let our national monuments stand.”
Mayor Lori Buck, Fruita:
“We know the benefits of protected public lands firsthand here in Fruita. I have heard from several local businesses that 2017 was a record breaking spring. The outdoor industry, related to public land access, has changed our economy.”
Sarah Shrader, founder of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley, owner of Bonsai Design:
“President Trump and Secretary Zinke ought to recognize the economic value these monuments have to all Americans. Businesses like mine ‚Äï and our employees ‚Äï depend on protected public lands for our livelihoods. National monuments, parks and forests drive a multi-billion dollar recreation economy in the West. Let me be clear: Eliminating or shrinking America’s national monuments will shrink or eliminate the local jobs and business they support.”
Josh Hudnall, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Proximity, Inc.:
“As an employer within the region I have witnessed the important effects of outdoor access firsthand. Outdoor opportunities created by protected public lands, like our national monuments, draw new talent to the Grand Valley from across the nation. It’s vital that we work to protect our public lands and the economic benefits that they provide.”
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 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.
The Center for Western Priorities recently conducted an analysis of public comments submitted to the Department of Interior and found 98 percent expressed support for keeping or expanding the national monument under review.
Two national monuments within a short drive from Grand Junction are among the monuments threatened under President Trump’s executive order.
Colorado’s Canyon of the Ancients National Monument is home to thousands of treasured cliff dwellings and rock paintings. It draws more than 30,000 visitors a year and contributes to local job creation and economic growth.
Bears Ears National Monument on Utah’s eastern border 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, featuring a wrapped RV and oversized inflatable State of Liberty, will conclude at the final Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. Outdoor Retailer is leaving Salt Lake City for Denver 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.
Broadcast and print-quality photos, video and audio of the press conference will be available this afternoon at bit.ly/monumentsmedia.