Thursday, April 27, 2017

Utah! National Monument Status isn't ...

Like ordering a meal in a Chinese Restaurant. 

"The State of Utah will take five National Parks from Column A. We'll also take six out of eight of the National Monuments from Column B. The last two Monuments upsets our stomachs and State's Rights sensitivities."

The two offending Monuments? Grand Staircase/Escalante and the recently added Bear Ears. I'll digress for a moment.

The state of Utah goes out of its way to promote its natural beauty. The Utah Office of Tourism has fostered "The Mighty Five" marketing campaign. This is in reference to Utah's National Parks. UOT purchases advertising space in the NY Times, LA Times, Outside, Fodors, Sunset and CBS This Morning. On the International scene, the "Beehive State" funds tourist bureaus in Japan, Germany, UK and France. Utah is on a mission to attract selfie-stick wielding mobs of hikers, sightseers, adventurers and wanderers. Some don't even speak English! The outsiders come, spend money and eventually leave. People don't come to Utah to go nightclubbing.

In 2012, tourists spent an estimated 7.4 billion dollars in Utah. They contributed 960 million in state tax revenues too. Definitely not chump change. Tourism is big business in Utah.

I'll digress again.

National Parks and Monuments are different in how they came to be. A NP is designated by an act of Congress. A NM is created by the President under the power of the 1906 Antiquities Act. 

From Wikipedia: "The Antiquities Act of 1906, (Pub.L. 59–209, 34 Stat. 22554 U.S.C. § 320301–320303), is an act passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906. This law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from federal lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific features. The Act has been used over a hundred times since its passage. Its use occasionally creates significant controversy. On April 26, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order to review the Antiquities Act."

Could the fair people of Utah dislike the Grand Staircase/Escalante Monument because it was proclaimed by a Rhodes Scholar philandering Democratic President? Or in the case of Bear Ears, a Black (gasp!)  Democratic President? I would say a possible maybe, since the other six National Monuments are never mentioned in the debate. 

The politicians of Utah want to reduce the size of the GSENM and totally eliminate National Monument status for Bear Ears. They now have an Federal Administration who favors missiles, and mining over Monuments. The 111 year old Antiquities Act is now under fire. In our Nation's short history the President's use of this Act has been Fait Accompli. Well, there's nothing normal/usual about this Reality TV Administration. 

So back to the State of Utah. Why is it OK to be a whore for the National Parks within your boundaries but protest two Wild Areas which are now being saved and protected for future generations?  Create a National Monument and the tourists will come. They will spend money for the long term. Mines are finite, tourism is not. 

Utah! Are you in or out when it comes to conservation. There is no sort of being pregnant when it comes to making America Great. Poop or get off the pot. 

One more digression: An apt quote seen in the GSENM Visitor Center. 

"When some of us says, "look there's is nothing out there." What we are really saying is, "I cannot see." 

Terry Tempest Williams

We have an Administration who is blind.

All these photos are from GSENM. 

Think about this,


  1. There is a lot more to just arbitrarily talking about Utah without understanding what we are up against. The Grand Staircase "Monument" status denies access to trust lands which fund Utah schools. Obama didn't care to think about the people in our state and how it would effect us. Bears Ears, another example of not listening to Utah native Americans who hold that area as a sacred place. Did you know the federal government owens almost 50% of the state of Utah? It is not fair to the people of Utah who understand the situations behind Obamma's quick decisions to make him look good. These areas have been protected by our state and visitors are welcome to visit the sights. Let us manage our own land!

    1. Land ownership is a dicey issue in the West. However, Bear Ears is already federally owned. (The Bureau of Land Management). Creating a NM will provide recreational opportunities for your Grandkids, Grandkids. There's a reason why there are so many mining related ghost towns in the West. The mines play out.
      As far as Native Americans thoughts on the new Monument.
      From the Salt Lake Tribune.
      Eric Descheenie, former co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and newly elected member of Arizona's House of Representatives: "It actually brought tears to my face. ... It's so significant. It's so hard to even try to add up what this really means. At the end of the day, there's only a certain place in this entire world, on earth, where we as indigenous peoples belong. And to be able to secure that, you can't put any money value on it."

    2. The state trust lands in Grand Staircase-Escalante were exchanged out in 1998, as former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt tells: "Three years before the exchange, federal designation of a monument had captured thousands of acres of Utah state trust lands within the monument. Through negotiation with the federal government, Utah was able to trade the land-locked parcels for large blocks of resource-rich SITLA land outside the monument. Today, some $300 million has been generated from coal and natural gas revenue on land acquired in the trade." Source:

    3. Thanks George for passing No" Fake News" along. You might enjoy these posts too.

      I believe you and I are singing from the same choir.
      Thanks again,

  2. I've readd (sorry no source now) that outdoor tourism in UT generates far more dollars than resource extraction. But of course resource extraction companies contribute lots of $$$ to politicians. I've also read that most of the people in Escalante want to keep the Grand Staircase as is because of the tourism dollars it generates for the town..