With a mere five months left in President Obama’s final term, potential new National Monument designations were in the air at The Conservation Breakfast at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake. Featured speaker, wildlife photographer Florian Schulz, gave a stunning presentation that followed the Pacific Coast from Baja to the Arctic, and ended with a plea that President Obama designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a National Monument. Doing so would end the decades-long battle over whether to protect the Coastal Plain, or open it to oil drilling.
Prior to Schulz’s talk, the standing-room-only crowd heard from Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Goldfuss and her team advise the President on conservation policy, and play a key role in determining which landscapes to preserve as National Monuments. During her remarks, Goldfuss addressed National Monuments and the controversial proposals that would protect millions of acres of public land in places like Southern Utah, the Arctic, Grand Canyon, and Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands. “How bold we can be really depends on how loud all of you are in saying that these places matter to the future of our nation,” she said. “Right now it matters. Jump in. Tell us what’s important to you.” So we jumped in immediately with a post card campaign in support of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Later that day, a collection of outdoor industry business leaders held a press conference to voice support for the proposed Bears Ears National Monument in Southern Utah. Conservation Alliance board member and founder of Black Diamond Equipment Peter Metcalf led the press conference, which included voices from Petzl, The North Face, Patagonia, KEEN Footwear, Osprey, Skull Candy, Armada, Treasure Mountain Inn, Kuhl, POC, Gregory, Rossignol, and Mountain Hardwear. If designated, the Bears Ears National Monument would protect nearly two million acres of land in Utah, including Indian Creek, Grand Gulch, the San Juan River, and the culturally-rich Cedar Mesa.
With the Outdoor Retailer show behind us, The Conservation Alliance will continue to bring our business voice to bear on conservation opportunities. We hope to celebrate some big victories before the end of the year!
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