Two dramatic red rock columns in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah.
Escalante Devils Garden in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah. © Drew Rush

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TNC Statement Saluting President Biden’s Executive Order Restoring Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) joined the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, conservation organizations and other partners in saluting President Joe Biden’s Executive Order restoring Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to their original boundaries. President Biden’s action reverses a 2017 executive order shrinking these monuments by 50 percent and 84 percent, respectively.

“The Nature Conservancy applauds President Biden’s action today restoring Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “This action conserves these iconic landscapes and their cultural significance for Indigenous Peoples.”

TNC strongly supports the Antiquities Act, an important law that provides authority to the U.S. president to protect outstanding natural, cultural and historic sites from imminent threat.

“Shrinking national monuments is the wrong direction for our country,” Morris added. “Americans employed by the farming, ranching, forestry, fishing and recreation industries rely on healthy lands and waters for their livelihoods. National monument designations boost local economies, provide recreation opportunities, protect wildlife habitat and improve the health and well-being of the American people. With reinstatement must come significant funding to ensure the proper management and stewardship of these lands.”

In the state of Utah, presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt have used the Antiquities Act 12 times to protect sites under threat, including iconic places such as Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches and Capitol Reef, later designated as national parks by Congress. All 12 of the Utah sites remain vital to Utah’s economy, protecting natural, cultural and historic sites that are irreplaceable while providing substantial tourism revenue to local communities.

TNC is the largest private landowner in Bears Ears and operates the Dugout Ranch and Canyonlands Research Center, which it established to study climate science, sustainable land use and agriculture in the region. TNC strongly champions collaborative conservation efforts to achieve legislated public lands designations as a first choice and recognizes that in cases when Congress is unable to act, the Antiquities Act must remain a vital option to achieve permanent public lands protection.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.