Trump to Shrink Utah Monuments on Monday

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Photo: Josh Ewing

President Trump will fly to Salt Lake City Utah on Monday, December 4th to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Documents leaked from the White House and obtained by a variety of sources such as The Washington Post, Outside Online, and the Salt Lake Tribune, suggest that President Trump will issue an order, which, if eventually upheld in court, would dramatically reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah.  If these obtained documents are true, Trump will dismantle Bears Ears National Monument into two smaller monuments encompassing just 201,000 of the monument’s original 1.35 million acres. Grand  Staircase-Escalante National Monument will also be broken into three smaller monuments with a combined acreage of less than one million acres, roughly half of its original size.

The Conservation Alliance and our member companies have worked vigorously to demonstrate support for National Monuments, and to oppose any changes to their boundaries. Nearly three million Americans commented during the review period, 99 percent of whom urged Trump to leave these special protected areas alone.

Native Americans, conservation and recreation groups, and outdoor businesses are preparing to file lawsuits against the Trump Administration immediately following an announcement on Monday, and The Conservation Alliance will make grants from our Public Lands Defense Fund to support this litigation. In the meantime, there are still ways to make our voices heard. Below are two ways to take action immediately.

  1. Attend Saturday’s Rally in Salt Lake City. Join Utahans on the south steps of the Utah State Capitol to resist Trump’s efforts to dismantle our national monuments. RSVP here.
  2. Make your voice heard on social media. Visit to quickly do so.

Please stay tuned. We will compile a concise list of ways to take action promptly following any Trump announcement on Monday. 


The Arctic Refuge Battle Continues in the Budget

Photo Credit: Florian Schulz

The battle to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling continues.

Two weeks ago, the Senate took the first step toward opening the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling by voting against an amendment to remove Arctic drilling from its budget resolution, then narrowly passing that resolution. Less than a week later, on Thursday, Oct 26th, the House adopted the Senate’s budget resolution in a 216-212 vote.

The good news? We have successfully fought this battle before. In 2005, the Arctic Refuge faced a similar threat. Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, and the White House, and all wanted to open the Arctic Refuge to oil development.  Republican leadership used the same convoluted budget process they are using today to advance Arctic drilling.  The Senate and the House voted then to drill the Arctic Refuge using the same sequence of votes in 2005 as they did earlier this month, but Arctic Refuge supporters remained steadfast. At the 11th hour, the cultural significance and unmatched beauty of the Arctic Refuge ultimately prevailed, and Arctic drilling was struck from the 2005 budget.

Endless Pressure, Endlessly applied.

Conservation Alliance members have added pressure. We are proud to report that 90 members joined us in a letter to Congress, and more than 20 companies joined us on October 12 for an Arctic Refuge social media day of action. This level of action makes a difference, and we have to keep it up. The budget process is a marathon not a sprint, and we have many miles left in the race.

Each step in the budget process demands our community’s attention. Now that Congress has passed a budget resolution, the next stage in the process is called reconciliation. Reconciliation is the part in the process where we will see actual legislation that would open the Arctic Refuge to drilling. This Thursday, November 2nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing to discuss potential oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge (as instructed by the resolution).

It is important that our elected officials understand where we stand on this issue. Below are some suggested actions.

Call or Tweet Key Senators:

  • Call or tweet Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (202-224-6665 / @lisamurkowski) and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan (202-224-3004 / @SenDanSullivan) and tell them that you do not agree with drilling in the Refuge and that the fast-tracked budget process is an unethical method to use on such an important topic.
  • Call Maine Senator Susan Collins (202-224-2523 / @SenatorCollins) and thank her for voting in support of the Arctic Refuge in the Budget Resolution process.
  • Call Arizona Senator John McCain (202-224-2235 / @SenJohnMcCain) and ask him to help the public understand his reasons for voting down the amendment that would have kept the Arctic Refuge out of the budget process.

Tweet at your Representative:

Message: [Your Representative] tell GOP leadership to keep #ArcticRefuge drilling out of the tax bill. #NoArcticRider #ProtectTheArctic

We are not giving up until the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is protected once and for all. Thanks for sticking with us for the long haul.


90 Businesses and Recreation Groups Ask Congress to Keep the Arctic Out of the ’18 Budget

Photo: Florian Shultz. Arctic Refuge, Brooks Range, Alaska

The Senate has released its budget plan for 2018, which proposes opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling to help pay for the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts. For congressional leaders wishing to drill in the Arctic, the budget process is the vehicle of choice as it only requires 51 votes to pass and cannot be filibustered. Any other effort to approve Arctic drilling would require 60 votes, a feat proven impossible for more than three decades. So, with 52 Republican seats in the Senate, and the tie-breaking vote in the hands of Vice President Mike Pence, the Arctic faces its greatest threat to date.
Ninety Conservation Alliance members and recreation organizations have  joined us in a letter asking Congress to keep the Arctic Refuge out of the 2018 budget process.


Member Spotlight: Peak Design

Peter Dering, Peak Design's Founder - shares the comapny's reason for being.

Last week I had the great pleasure of visiting Peak Design, an uber cool design and carry brand based in the heart of San Francisco, and a proud Conservation Alliance member. I showed up on a sunny Thursday morning to deliver a Public Lands 101 presentation and left completely blown away by the positive change these guys are making.

First of all the brand’s story is amazing.

Peak Design was catalyzed when a nice Midwestern guy named Peter Dering took his DLSR camera on a four month trip around the world. Peter returned home to San Francisco, quit his job, designed a revolutionary camera clip for 10 months, then put it on Kickstarter. It exploded, Peak Design was crowdfunded.

Six Kickstarter campaigns later, Peak Design has become the world’s most crowdfunded active company ($14M raised!). Peak Design has over 50 amazing products, 25 rad employees in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood and hundreds of manufacturers around the world.

The Peak Design Family taking 1% for the Planet’s Oath of Action

While the growth story is impressive, the values that carry Peak Design and its family forward, blew me away. Their website states: the purpose of Peak Design is to create happy, meaningful lives for the people that work there. This purpose breeds an incredible culture. They often share breakfast together – like we did the morning I was there (from the delicious Neighbor Bakerhouse next door). Among other cool things, a small climbing wall and hang board duo offer productive work breaks.

I learned their mission from Peter, their founder. It has six parts:

  1. Make the best things.
  2. Succeed at the expense of nobody.
  3. Treat our customers as peers.
  4. Offset our environmental impact.
  5. Use our voice to inspire positive change.
  6. Prioritize happiness over growth.

Pretty cool.

At the Conservation Alliance, we are especially excited about and grateful for their Give A Shot platform – which connects photographers with nonprofit organizations in need of stunning photography. Many Conservation Alliance grantees have benefited from the platform. Check it out if your organization is in need of some lovely photography!

As an added bonus, my visit overlapped with their annual  SUMM1T event – which was instigated by their 1% for the Planet partnership and has morphed into a night of celebration, inspiration, and collaboration between creatives, businesses, and environmentalists. This year served as an opportunity to highlight the formal launch Give A Shot.

A few hundred passionate folks filled a venue with an impressive gallery of photos. All were captivated by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez – the 17 year-old climate activist, hip hop artist, director of Earth Guardians, author and overall incredible human being. He prompted us to think of climate change as a people issue.

Xiuhtezcatl wraps up an inspiring performance at this year’s SUMM1T.


We couldn’t be more proud to have Peak Design in the family, or more inspired by their values.

America’s Last Great Wilderness Under Threat, Again.

Photo: Dave Shreffler

For decades, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been at the center of a debate over oil drilling. Over the last 30 years, Congress has voted on whether or not to open the Refuge to drilling roughly 50 times. Thanks to diverse support from Americans across the country, efforts to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling have failed, and to this day it remains protected and celebrated as one of America’s most iconic and inspirational areas for recreation and wildlife.

Those tables have shifted, and the Arctic Refuge now faces one of its most serious threats. As part of his “Energy Dominance” goal, President Trump put the idea of drilling in the Arctic’s Refuge back on the table, calling for Arctic drilling as a source of revenue in his draft 2018 budget. Congress has since included provisions that would allow Arctic drilling into its proposed budget.

We believe that the Congressional budgeting process is no place to decide the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Outdoor Business and Recreationists’ support for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not a new idea. Since 1996, The Conservation Alliance has awarded more than $400,000 in grants to organizations working to secure lasting protections for the Arctic Refuge. In addition, last year, in an effort with Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association, more than 100 businesses signed onto a letter urging President Obama to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge as a National Monument.

Photo: Dave Shreffler

What does the budget process have to do with the Arctic Refuge’s protection?

In 1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed, protecting half of the 20-million-acre landscape, which stretches from the Brooks Range north to the Arctic Ocean, and prohibits any drilling in the Arctic Refuge without further legislative action by Congress. Each year since then bills have been introduced to reverse this act. Because this topic is so controversial, moving legislation through a filibuster-prone Senate is nearly impossible. Pro-drilling Senators are turning their attention to the Budget Reconciliation process as a means to open the Arctic to drilling. Why? Because Budget Reconciliation only requires 50 votes to pass the Senate (technically 51, but we can assume Vice President Pence would break a tie).

By including revenue from Arctic oil drilling in the budget reconciliation bill, Congress can bypass the 60-vote threshold required to break a filibuster, and open our our most iconic wild landscape to oil drilling with only 51 votes.

We have drafted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, asking them to leave the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge out of the Congressional budgeting process, and to understand that a protected Arctic Refuge is good for business and the environment.

Thank you for considering joining us in this effort. Click here to read the letter and add your name.


Secretary Zinke’s National Monument Review: What to Expect Next

Baldy Peak and La Cueva seen from Baylor Canyon Road, west side of the Organ Mountains, 32.344 -106.614, Doña Ana County, New Mexico, 23 May 2005.

It has been a whirlwind of a summer. On April 26th 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order requiring Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to critically review 27 national monuments over 300,000 acres in size and designated after January 1996, to determine if their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. Secretary Zinke was ordered to deliver a final report by August 24th, recommending which monuments should be altered and which should remain unchanged. For nearly ten weeks, Zinke and the Department of Interior hosted an open comment period soliciting feedback from the American public. To say our community engaged in this process would be an understatement. We stood up for the foundation of our businesses, the backbone of our industry, the fuel to our adventures and the wildness in our collective DNA. We proudly stood up for the integrity of our country’s best idea: Our Public Lands.

In a time of political uncertainty, our ability to come together to advocate for something we all believe in is inspiring. Trump’s Executive Order and Zinke’s response to it catalyzed our community into action and unleashed a level of support for our public lands that America has never seen before.

In three short months, Conservation Alliance members, partners, friends and fellow American’s put forth an incredible effort to voice their support for public lands loudly and clearly. Since May 12th: :

Conservation Alliance members, in particular, rose to the challenge and put forth an unprecedented public display of support for our wild places. These are just some examples of the many actions taken:


We are on the eve Secretary Zinke’s final national monument report. Will our voices have been heard? Will our national monuments remain intact? We won’t have a clear indication until the report has been released, but there are some consistent hypotheses. There is general consensus that at least eight monuments are at risk for recommended changes, these include:  Cascade-Siskiyou; Gold Butte; Basin and Range; Organ Mountains Desert Peaks; Grand Staircase Escalante; Bears Ears; Katahdin Woods and Waters; and Papahanaumokuakea, a marine national monument. Please note this list has not been confirmed by the Department of Interior. How these monuments are changed is still up for debate, but three methods seem likely:

  1. Zinke recommends that Trump use executive action to change national monument boundaries, or rescind them entirely.

Some even believe Trump will immediately exercise executive action to rescind or alter certain monuments. Legal experts believe that executive action to alter an existing national monument is illegal and would be followed by years of litigation.

  1. Zinke recommends a mixture of executive and congressional actions.

Under this scenario, Zinke would recommend that Trump take executive action on certain monuments, and recommend that Congress reshape others. Congressional actions could include things like redefining a monument’s boundary or changing its designation from National Monument to something like a National Conservation Area, which would decrease the level of protection for the landscape.

  1. Zinke puts the ball entirely in Congress’ court, and leaves it to our Senators and Congressional Representatives to redraw or un-do our National Monuments.

Unfortunately we have yet to find an expert who thinks all of the monuments under review will escape the process without a recommended alteration. To date, Zinke has indicated six national monuments have been spared, including: Grand Canyon-Parashant; Canyons of the Ancients; Craters of the Moon; Upper Missouri River Breaks; and Hanford Reach.


The short answer is: Not back down. The Conservation Alliance has, and always will, oppose any effort to change the boundaries of existing national monuments through executive action.

We have a 28-year history of supporting grassroots groups working to secure permanent protections for wild places. Since 1999 we’ve made 25 grants totaling $765,000 to 13 different groups whose work was instrumental in protecting ten of the monuments under review. It is in our interest, and the interest of our members, to defend them.

In January of this year we launched our Public Lands Defense Fund. A new, fluid and board administered fund that exists to defend previous Presidents’ National Monument designations, defend our bedrock conservation laws, and oppose the proposed transfer of federal lands to the states or to private hands. We have $120k remaining in this fund for 2017 and anticipate it will be spent on preserving existing national monuments.

We stand ready to formally engage in the defense of our national monuments in the form of public statements, organizing, and grantmaking to grassroots groups working to uphold these places. We look forward to offering many opportunities to join us in these efforts through letters, social media campaigns, lobby visits, and more.

Thanks for joining us and standing up for our Public Lands! We are all in this together.

3,000 Outdoor Industry Folks March to UT’s Capitol

On July 27th, 2017, during the final Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, 3,000 outdoor industry business owners, outdoor enthusiasts, friends and colleagues marched to the Utah state capitol to show their support for our shared public lands.

Ten inspiring speakers greeted marches at the steps of the capitol with a rally, encouraging our community to keep celebrating and keep fighting for our country’s most precious resource: our shared public lands.

Speakers included:

  • Amy Roberts, Executive Director, OIA
  • Shaun Chapoose, Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee member and founding member of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
  • Adam Cramer, Executive Director, Outdoor Alliance
  • Conrad Anker, Captain of The North Face Global Athlete Team
  • Jerry Stritzke. CEO of REI
  • Blake Spalding, Owner, Hells Backbone Grill
  • Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City Mayor
  • Amy Roberts with Mayor Biskupski and Tom Adams, Utah Director of Outdoor Recreation
  • John Sterling, Executive Director, The Conservation Alliance

The same day, The Conservation Alliance supported five grantees to lead concurrent public lands marches and rallies in five other locations across the West. Those included:

  • Oregon Natural Desert Association: Bend, OR
  • Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center: Medford, OR
  • New Mexico Wilderness Alliance: Las Cruces, NM
  • Winter Wildlands Alliance: Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness: Ely, MN

Thanks to everyone who participated – both in spirit and in person!

Cheers to WZRD Media for capturing the march.

Visit our facebook page for more march photos!


Monuments Matter: Our Formal Response to Monument Review, MS-1530

This is an image I shot in May atop Blue Ridge, west of Vacaville, California.  The setting sun provided some really nice colors that evening, and the long focal length and atmosphere brought out the blues and purples in the mountains.

Some scenes are just difficult to convey with a photograph.  I remember standing there with the breeze going, amazed at the layers that were illuminated.  Photographs bring the visual elements to the viewer, but what they fail to bring is the breeze, the temperature, the movement, the smell, the sounds, and the view/story behind the camera.  Video adds a few of those, but it also has limitations.  This was one of those evenings that I wish I could just transport viewers from their computer, to the top of Blue Ridge.      

Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 100-400L @190mm
1/10 second exposure @ F8
Singh-Ray 3 stop reverse hard grad filter
This is one single image @ ISO 50

The Conservation Alliance has a 28-year history of investing in efforts to protect public lands for their habitat and recreation values. In April, President Trump signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monument designations larger than 100,000 acres from the past 21 years to determine whether their boundaries are consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act. The Conservation Alliance actively supported 10 of the 27 monuments under review.

Below is our formal comment submitted under Monument Review, MS-1530:

June 29, 2017

The Honorable Secretary Ryan Zinke
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
RE: Monument Review, MS-1530

Dear Secretary Zinke,

On behalf of our membership, thank you for the opportunity to provide comment to Monument Review, MS-1530. The Conservation Alliance is a group of more than 200 outdoor industry and enthusiast companies nationwide that manufacture and sell products for use and enjoyment 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.

We have already submitted comments specific to your review of the Bears Ears National Monument, so this submission focuses on the other monuments under review. The Conservation Alliance has a 28-year history of supporting conservation efforts that benefit outdoor recreation. During that time, our 200+ member companies have invested their time and financial resources in efforts to secure protection for ten of the terrestrial monuments currently under review:

  • Bears Ears National Monument
  • Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument
  • Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
  • Gold Butte National Monument
  • Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
  • Mojave Trails National Monument
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
  • San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
  • Sand to Snow National Monument
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Together, these monuments preserve world-class outdoor recreation, important wildlife habitat, and sensitive cultural artifacts and archaeological sites. These landscapes are among the special protected places that make the Western United States unique. Cherished by people who live nearby, and by those who visit from far away, our national monuments are an essential chapter in our American story. They provide rare opportunities for adventure, inspiration, and solace. They are also an important economic driver.

National monuments are a key asset for the outdoor recreation economy. The customers of our member companies – hikers, climbers, skiers, backpackers, paddlers, mountain bikers, hunters, and anglers – need protected landscapes to use the products our members make and sell. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in direct consumer spending, and supports 7.6 million jobs nationwide. Each of the national monuments under review contributes to this economic activity.

In addition to their contributions to the outdoor recreation economy, national monuments drive economic activity in communities near these landscapes. A recent study of 17 national monuments by Headwaters Economics found that the local economies surrounding each of the monuments grew following the monument designation. Population, employment, personal income, and per-capita income all increased in these communities after creation of the monuments. The study also found no evidence that the new national monuments prevented economic growth.

Beyond the economic benefits they offer, national monuments are overwhelmingly supported by Americans nationwide. This review has triggered one of the largest outpouring of support for our protected public lands that our country has ever seen. To date, well over one million people have submitted comments, and the overwhelming majority, over 95%, urge you to keep the monument boundaries as they are. With this letter, we add our voice to that wave of support.

The process that led to the designation of these monuments was thorough and transparent. Local residents, outdoor enthusiasts, businesses, chambers of commerce, and elected officials took the opportunity to weigh in on proposed protections after years of negotiation. Thank you for reviewing the decades of hard work and thoughtful consideration that culminated in the designation of the national monuments under review. We are confident that any serious review of these places will confirm that their boundaries are appropriate, and that previous Presidents did the right thing by protecting these special landscapes.

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. Our national monuments are national treasures and preserving their existing boundaries is an investment in our future.


John Sterling
Executive Director

10 Takeaways from Sec. Zinke’s Interim Bears Ears Recommendation

141205_CedarMesa_photocredit_Mikey Schafer

From headlines, to tweets, to emails, to texts – there is a lot of press covering Secretary Zinke’s interim Bears Ears National Monument recommendation. Because the report provides more questions than answers, we did our best to break it down into ten takeaways.

You can find and download his the full report here and read our formal response to it, here.

 1. First things first, let’s ground ourselves in the legacy-defining American landscape we’re talking about: Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears is perhaps the only place in the country with the highest concentration of magnificent and culturally significant rock art, dwellings, archaeological and geological splendors, spiritual places, and vast recreation opportunities.

Photo: Marc Toso

2. Secretary Zinke recommends that Bears Ears National Monument be shrunk. Largely, this interim report is purposefully vague, leaving room for amendments prior to the final recommendation’s due date on August 24th. While neither redrawn boundary maps, nor new proposed acreage were provided, it is clear Secretary Zinke is recommending Bears Ears National Monument be reduced in size.

3. We don’t know exactly how or by whom it will change, yet. Sec. Zinke has fulfilled on his duty to provide an interim recommendation on Bears Ears within 45 days of President Trump’s Executive Order #13792; however, we will not know Sec. Zinke’s full and final recommendation until the final report is due on August 24th.

4. President Trump wants to be offered the opportunity to alter Bears Ears, all by himself.  Sec. Zinke is to offer President Trump a recommendation that he can exercise as an executive action. Many legal scholars agree any executive action to undo or change a national monument established by a preceding President is illegal.


While rare, past Presidents have used executive action to change national monument boundaries. Notably, none of these changes have been challenged in court. The most notorious example of a President using executive action to alter a national monument was in 1915 when President Woodrow Wilson nearly cut in half Teddy Roosevelt’s Mount Olympus National Monument. This was never challenged in court, and in 1938 Congress acted to permanently protect Teddy’s original National Monument as Olympic National Park and doubled its size!

5. Sec. Zinke must recommend a way for Congress to make changes, too.  He’s tentatively recommended the following: 1) Congress should allow tribal co-management of whatever cultural areas are protected after the monument has been resized. 2) Congress should establish certain smaller areas as a national recreation areas (NRA) or a national conservation areas (NCA). 3)Congress should reevaluate the necessity of wilderness and wilderness study areas within a national monument boundary.

6. NRA, NCA and national monument…what’s the difference?  Both National Recreation Areas (NRAs) and National Conservation Areas (NCAs) are areas of public land protected for recreation, conservation and/or ecologic values. Often times NRAs are managed by the Forest Service (USFS) or National Park Service (NPS) and NCAs are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Unlike national monuments, NRAs and NCAs can only be designated through an act of Congress. While national monuments can be designated through congress as well, they are primarily established through executive action of the President by way of the Antiquities Act.

7. The integrity of the Antiquities Act is challenged, but its importance cannot be overstated.  Theodore Roosevelt catalyzed our country’s conservation legacy in 1906 with the creation of the Antiquities Act. Today, it is still one of the most important conservation tools in the toolbox. Historically nonpartisan, the Antiquities Act has been used by all but three U.S. Presidents, of the 18 since Teddy Roosevelt established the act, to protect over 130 national monuments. In fact, some of our country’s most iconic landscapes were first protected as national monuments under this Act. The Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Katmai, Pinnacles, and Olympic National Park are just some examples of world famous National Parks that began as National Monuments and were later bestowed by Congress as National Parks.

Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir in Yosemite’s Glacier Point, Photo: Library of Congress


8. The comments submitted and comments received don’t match up.  Sec. Zinke stated that 78,000 people submitted comments on behalf of Bears Ears.  When Sec. Zinke asked the American people to comment on the future of Bears Ears and the other 26 national monuments under review, one of the largest show of support for public lands erupted. Our partners counted every comment, and reported that over 1,000,000 Americans submitted comment on behalf of our special places.

9. While this interim recommendation sets the stage for more attacks on our public lands, we have a tool to defend them. OUR VOICES!

10. Secretary Zinke works for you, make sure he hears from you.  You have until July 10th to formally submit a comment to Secretary Zinke. Passionately tell him why Bears Ears National Monument should remain the way it is today, forever. Still want to do more? Speak up on behalf of the other 26 national monuments under review as well! Follow the two steps below to add your voice. We’ve added some suggested messaging to get you started, but please be sure to personalize your note. Thanks for taking action!

  1.  Click this link to access the DOI comment page: 

  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.


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.

Our Response to Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Interim Recommendation on Bears Ears National Monument

Photo Credit: Patagonia & Paul Draper

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today recommended that the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument be revised. Though his recommendation is short on details, it is clear that Secretary Zinke thinks President Trump should use executive action to reduce the size of the monument. This action sets in motion what many legal scholars agree is an illegal attempt to remove protections for the national monument in Utah. The Conservation Alliance will seek opportunities to support legal challenges to any executive order that attempts to change the Bears Ears boundaries.

It is hard to square Secretary Zinke’s recommendation with the fact that more than one million people commented in support of keeping the Bears Ears boundaries fully intact. The recommendation ignores the overwhelming will of Americans, Utahns, and most importantly the voice of unified Native American Tribes, who support full protection for the existing Bears Ears National Monument.

Secretary Zinke’s recommendation also represents a broad attack on the integrity of our public lands system by diminishing an important conservation tool. The Antiquities Act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, gives the president the authority to safeguard federal lands and cultural and historical sites for all Americans to enjoy. Legal experts have concluded that the Antiquities Act clearly gives the president the authority to designate national monuments, but not the authority to rescind those designations. Any attempt to change the boundaries of Bears Ears will be challenged in court.

After President Trump ordered the national monument review, we stated our belief that any serious review of Bears Ears would conclude that this is a special place, beloved by millions of Americans for its cultural, recreation, and habitat values. Today’s recommendation indicates that the review was not serious, ignoring public sentiment, and disregarding the legitimate concerns of the tribal coalition that led the designation effort. The Conservation Alliance will work closely with our member companies and our partners in the conservation community to challenge this recommendation, and to demonstrate to political leaders the important role national monuments play in the outdoor recreation economy.

Together, we have made huge investments in our national monuments. We hope you will join us in protecting that investment. Please stay tuned for more details and opportunities to take action as this issue develops.


John Sterling
Executive Director

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