Secretary Zinke’s Bears Ears National Monument Recommendations Statement from The Nature Conservancy in Utah
June 12, 2017
The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with the Secretary of Interior to ensure Bears Ears National Monument (BENM) remains as is. As we have affirmed before with the Secretary of Interior, there is consensus this special area needs additional protections, not less. Here are some key considerations in light of the interim report:
- TNC supports the Monument – During Secretary Zinke’s recent tour of BENM we outlined our reasons to leave BENM as is. A copy of that 5/7/17 statement is attached (Exhibit A*). We stand by and affirm that there is no need to alter the Bears Ears National Monument.
- Grazing Allotments – The Conservancy supports keeping existing grazing allotments intact (i.e. not bisected by differing jurisdictions.) Under the BENM, the Conservancy’s grazing allotments are substantially intact. We will continue to advocate for designation boundaries which enhance, rather than confuse, appropriate land management.
- National Recreation Area – We are concerned that a National Recreation Area has been mentioned as a possible designation for Congress to consider for portions of the Monument. We are especially concerned as this may be inferred to the northern portion of BENM and the Indian Creek Corridor. We believe that an NRA status will promote uses incompatible with grazing, conservation and research. If Congress does act, a National Conservation Area (NCA) expressly permitting research is preferable to an NRA. Until Congress proves that it can protect this area, the Monument should stand as is.
- Funding – The Bears Ears region needs more protection, but it also needs more funding. The Conservancy is concerned that President Trump’s budget calls for unprecedented reduction in funding for natural resource agencies. Providing proper funding for America’s parks, monuments and public lands is just as important as their designation.
“We trust that Secretary Zinke will determine at the end of this review, to leave Bears Ears as is. Instead of creating a new patchwork of jurisdictions, we look forward to working with the Secretary to conclude as we have, the Monument is the best option to conserve this area.”
Dave Livermore, Utah State Director
*Exhibit A:Statement from The Nature Conservancy in Utah Concerning Interior’s Review of Bears Ears National Monument (5/7/17)
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