Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending the newly-created Bears Ears National Monument be downsized by an unspecified amount, possibly through unilateral action by the President.
On Monday, Zinke issued an interim report on the 1.3-million-acre monument in Southeast Utah, in compliance with an executive order by President Trump. During a media conference call, Zinke emphasized that his recommendations incorporated feedback from his four-day listening tour in Utah in May as well as stakeholder input and public comments.
“It's important that the recommendations were not made in a bubble in Washington, DC,” Zinke said.
Zinke urged that the monument’s boundaries be revised to focus on protecting areas with the most cultural and historic resources – primarily around the Bears Ears geological formation and north of Newspaper Rock near Canyonlands National Park.
“There is a lot more drop-dead gorgeous land than there is historic landmarks, historic, prehistoric structures and other objects,” he said.
He also called for Congress to pass legislation granting Native American tribes co-management authority over the revised, smaller monument. He also recommended lawmakers consider alternative designations for the land taken out of the monument. Zinke’s next step will be to issue a final recommendation to the President, along with the results from his review of 2 dozen other national monuments.