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Nearly 90 Conservation Alliance Members Respond to Secretary Zinke and Stand with Bears Ears National Monument

Photo Credit:  Marc Toso

The Conservation Alliance was deeply involved in securing designation for Bears Ears National Monument. Through our funding program, we supported many grassroots organizations that led the effort to protect this special landscape. And through our advocacy efforts, we helped bring the outdoor industry’s own voice to bear on the effort. Last December we all celebrated a monumental victory when President Obama declared this landscape a National Monument, protecting 1.35 million acres of rich archeological history and world-class outdoor recreation. The designation preserved 100,000 archaeological sites, and some of our favorite places to play in Utah, including Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.

Four weeks ago President Trumped signed Executive Order #13792 directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 National Monuments designated or expanded since January 1, 1996 to determine if their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. Since Utah’s political leaders are pressuring President Trump to shrink or rescind Bears Ears National Monument, it became Secretary Zinke’s top priority.

When Secretary Zinke and the Department of Interior opened a 15-day public comment period to hear how Americans feel about Bears Ears National Monument, we took action and asked our members to join us in a formal response.

We Stand with Bears Ears and ask that Secretary Zinke recommend Bears Ears National Monument remain fully intact – all 1.35 million acres of archelogical history and world class recreation.


May 25, 2017

The Honorable Secretary Zinke
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

RE: Monument Review, MS-1530

Secretary Zinke,

On behalf of nearly 90 outdoor industry companies, thank you for the opportunity to comment on Monument Review, MS-1530. The Conservation Alliance is a group of more than 200 outdoor industry companies nationwide that manufacture and sell products for use in the outdoors. As engaged stakeholders that depend on the wild landscapes where our customers recreate, we strongly oppose any executive action that would reduce or rescind any National Monument under review.

The Bears Ears landscape is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history and archaeological sites, which inspired a historic coalition of tribes to band together to push for its designation. This tribal coalition remains staunchly opposed to any changes to the monument boundaries.

The region also boasts world-class rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, whitewater paddling, and skiing. Whether it be climbing in Indian Creek, paddling the San Juan River, or backpacking in Grand Gulch, the iconic recreation opportunities within the monument directly benefit the outdoor industry and its customers. Please see the attached map that details the recreation opportunities on the landscape. Bears Ears National Monument is a place where outdoor enthusiasts have the opportunity to respectfully explore a protected landscape where past and present intersect. Bears Ears National Monument can also help sustain a local recreation-based economy. According to a new study by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $12 billion in direct consumer spending and supports 122,000 jobs in Utah.

The process that led to the designation of Bears Ears National Monument was thorough and transparent. For more than 80 years, a wide array of decision makers presented proposals seeking permanent protection of all or part of this worthy landscape. The final boundaries closely resemble those proposed for legislative protection in the Public Lands Initiative (PLI), led by Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. The PLI boundaries were drawn to include, not exceed, the acreage necessary to preserve the rich cultural heritage, ecological values, and recreational opportunities found in the area.

The Conservation Alliance did not ultimately support the PLI legislation because it included provisions that undermined bedrock conservation laws, and the management of federally protected lands. However, groundwork and maps drawn throughout the three-year PLI process significantly influenced the boundary that would ultimately define Bears Ears National Monument. The PLI process incorporated perspectives from not only the tribal coalition, the outdoor industry, and conservation groups, but also San Juan county residents. We are confident that any credible review of the Bears Ears designation will confirm that the boundaries are more than justified.

Thank you for reviewing the decades of hard work and thoughtful consideration that culminated in the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, and for making the time to visit the region. We hope that your experiencing this landscape first-hand will help lead you to recommend that President Trump leave the Bears Ears National Monument fully intact.

We look forward to working with you to steward America’s greatest public land treasures in a manner that allows future generations of Americans to enjoy these wild places. The Bears Ears National Monument is an iconic place worthy of protection for its cultural and recreation values. Preserving Bears Ears is an investment in our economic future.

Sincerely,

Bears Ears National Monument 15-Day Comment Period is Open

asset1_joshewing

On April 27th, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO #13792) directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 National Monuments designated or expanded since January 1, 1996, to determine whether their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. This order identified Bears Ears as the first priority, and requires Secretary Zinke to submit a recommendation on the monument’s future by June 10th. Utah’s political leaders are pressuring President Trump to shrink or rescind Bears Ears National Monument.  While no President has ever attempted to revoke a National Monument, it is unclear how the President will respond to Secretary Zinke’s recommendations.

This EO threatens some of our most precious landscapes, many of which help us define who we are as a nation. We will potentially see recommendations to rescind any of the 27 National Monuments, scale them back in size, or alter the Antiquities Act – the bedrock conservation tool from which these National Monuments were designated.

The Department of Interior (DOI) opened a 15-day public comment period during which individuals and organizations may weigh in on the future of Bears Ears National Monument.  The commend period ends on May 26th. Now is the time for Secretary Zinke to hear why keeping this National Monument intact is so important to our community.

Follow these steps to make a comment:

  1.  Click this link to access the DOI comment page:  https://www.regulations.gov/ 

  2.  Copy and paste the comment below.  It is very important that you personalize your comment. If you don’t personalize it, your comment may not be counted.  Please edit or add text based on your own experience.  

RECOMMENDED COMMENT: 

As an outdoor enthusiast who loves our public lands, I support the designation of Bears Ears National Monument and ask that it’s boundaries remain unchanged.

For more than 100 years, Presidents of both parties have used the Antiquities Act–a tool signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt–to enact far-sighted protections for our common American inheritance. Bears Ears is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history which inspired a historic coalition of tribes to band together to push for its designation. In addition to protecting over 100,000 archaeological sites, the designation preserves world-class recreation opportunities in places like Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.

The process that led to the designation of Bears Ears National Monument was thorough and transparent. For more than 80 years, decision makers from all sides presented proposals seeking permanent protection of all or part of this incredible landscape. The boundaries were informed by both the multi-year Public Lands Initiative and by a proposal from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Those boundaries do not exceed the acreage necessary to preserve the rich cultural heritage, ecological values, and recreation assets.

Thank you for reviewing the decades of hard work and thoughtful consideration that culminated in the designation of Bears Ears National Monument. Please recommend that President Trump leave the current Bears Ears National Monument boundaries in place.

Want to do more?

Click this link to post this action alert to your Twitter feed:  ACTION ALERT: We have 15 days to tell @SecretaryZinke to protect #BearsEars. Submit your comment today! https://ctt.ec/1L1Nn+

Share our Facebook post with your friends. Ask them to take action to protect Bears Ears National Monument too!

The formal public comment period to weigh in on Bears Ears National Monument is open until May 26, 2017.  The formal public comment period to weigh in on the remaining 26 National Monuments included in the review process closes July 10, 2017. We will be circulating another action alert for these monuments after May 26.

Background

The Conservation Alliance was deeply involved in securing designation for Bears Ears National Monument. Through our funding program, we supported the grassroots organizations that led the effort to protect this special landscape. And through our advocacy efforts, we helped bring the outdoor industry’s own voice to bear on the effort. Last December we all celebrated a monumental victory when President Obama declared this landscape a National Monument, protecting 1.35 million acres of rich archeological history and world-class outdoor recreation. The designation preserved 100,000 archaeological sites, and some of our favorite places to play in Utah, including Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.

 

 

 

Meet Kirsten Blackburn, The Conservation Alliance Advocacy Program Manager

KB_Yosemite

The Conservation Alliance is excited to welcome Kirsten Blackburn as our new Advocacy Program Manager. Kirsten began her relationship with The Conservator Alliance as an Ambassador in 2012 where she inspired her colleagues at KEEN to participate in Conservation Alliance programs.  While at KEEN, she worked to create a movement of people dedicated to preserving our country’s incredible outdoor landscapes through a campaign called “Live Monumental”. She also managed corporate philanthropy and activism, including strategic non-profit partnerships and a grant program called the KEEN Effect. She was elected to The Conservation Alliance Board of Directors in 2016 and will undoubtedly hit the ground running as she transitions to her new role at The Conservation Alliance.

As the Advocacy Program Manager, Kirsten will develop and implement a plan to: engage Conservation Alliance member companies and their employees to participate in advocacy efforts in support of the projects we fund, and in defense of our public lands system; and to engage state and national decision makers on behalf of those member companies.  Kirsten will also manage The Conservation Alliance Ambassador Program.

Kirsten moved to Bend, OR to join the staff at The Conservation Alliance HQ.  “It’s a dream to join The Conservation Alliance team! John, Josie, and Serena are incredible and steadfastly dedicated to our mission, and the Board is made up of top notch friends, and industry leaders whose values lead first. I very much look forward to working collaboratively to take The Conservation Alliance’s advocacy efforts to the next level, and to build on the amazing 28-year history the collective team has created.

I am fueled by the authentic passion of grassroots nonprofits, constantly inspired by the power and people of the outdoor industry, and incredibly excited to work with our members to harness our collective power and engage in ways that will secure our wild places remain the way they are today, forever.

I will be forever grateful for a monumental six years at KEEN and for the friendships and experiences gleaned. The next chapter is an exciting one!”

Kirsten grew up in Whitefish, Montana with Glacier National Park as a backyard. Growing up amongst the beauty of Western Montana fostered a love for the outdoors and a burning desire to preserve them. She spends her time climbing, trail running, and getting lost in Oregon’s high desert where she serves as a board member for Oregon Natural Desert Association.

You can reach Kirsten at: kirsten at conservationalliance dot com.

 

The Conservation Alliance Makes Grants to Defend National Monuments and Elliot State Forest

Photo:  Friends of Cedar Mesa

The Conservation Alliance made two emergency grants to support organizations working to defend public lands. The grants, totaling $35,000, come from our new Public Lands Defense Fund, created to preserve and defend the integrity of our public lands system. We plan to disburse at least $185,000 in defense grants in 2017.

The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) received a $20,000 grant to support its National Monuments Defense Campaign. This effort comes in response to President Trump’s recent executive order calling for a review of National Monument designations made over the past 21 years. This is an unprecedented move that has the potential to reduce in size some of the most spectacular landscapes managed by the federal government. The order specifically targets the Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, which President Obama designated in December.

President Trump’s executive order is a direct assault on our National Monuments, many of which we helped to protect. We are proud to answer this threat with funding for a group that has deep experience with monuments.

The second grant went to Wild Salmon Center (WSC), based in Portland, Oregon. The $15,000 contribution supports WSC’s effort to halt the proposed sale of the Elliott State Forest. The 82,500-acre forest is managed by the State of Oregon, which is mandated to sell timber from the forest to help fund schools. Managing the forest now costs the state more than it brings in through timber, so the state has proposed selling the land to meet its revenue-generating mandate. WSC is leading the effort to convince Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the state legislature to find a solution that would keep the forest in public hands, and preserve it for recreation and conservation.

The Elliott State Forest situation demonstrates what can happen when cash-strapped states manage public lands.  We will work hard to keep the Elliott in public hands, and to oppose the transfer of federal lands to states.

The Conservation Alliance established the Public Lands Defense Fund in January, 2017 with contributions from Patagonia, The North Face, Arc’teryx, GU Energy Labs and Ibex Outdoor Clothing. Together, these four companies have committed $185,000 this year to support efforts to defend public lands. The Conservation Alliance welcomes additional contribution to grow this fund.

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