As many fellow Utahns may have heard, the size of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase have been slashed by our president. This has been the largest rollback of federally protected land in America’s history. During Trump’s visit to Salt Lake City, thousands of citizens gathered outside the capitol to protest against this “monumental mistake.”  Bears Ears is a sprawling region home to massive red rock canyons and ancient Native American sites believed to be sacred to dozens of Native American tribes. Thousands of Utahns were outraged to hear that these lands will no longer have federal protection.

Bears Ears began to attract controversy when President Obama designated it as a national monument in 2016. Conservatives thought of this decision to be an overstep of the president’s power and that the land should belong to the states. After President Trump ordered a review of 27 national monuments, Bears Ears being the only monument actually named, this land became a focus for conservation by many organizations and companies that oppose using public lands for mining, such as Patagonia.

Due to this decision, over 100,000 of archaeological importance and the heritage of the land itself will be under threat. This land will be used for oil and gas extraction and other destructive activities. What once used to be over 2 million acres of public land will now be owned by private corporations and big oil companies that already control so much of our economy.

While this has been absolutely devastating for many Utah citizens, it opens the door for many more rollbacks of federally protected land. This decision could alter the course of American land conservation and could potentially put many other national monuments at risk. These lands could potentially be threatened by mining, gas extraction, and oil extraction.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 A Monumental Mistake by Sofia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

6 Comments
  1. Zoe 5 months ago

    Sofia, I’m glad that you approached this issue. A question that I have is that if Utah had a government dedicated to conserving the environment, would it be okay to have these lands in the hands of the state? Or is there still an advantage to having lands be nationally protected? It would be interesting to hear a stance on this hypothetical situation. Thanks for this article!

  2. Lindsay 5 months ago

    Sofia- This post is great! I think you made great points, and also brought in all the information that was necessary to understand the topic. Trump’s decision to use bear ears was mindless and selfish. This article https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/us/trump-bears-ears.html by the New York Times gives a great view on the subject.

  3. Zachary 5 months ago

    Sofia,
    This is a very interesting article that deals with a very important issue. I really like the way that you have written this article because it brings awareness to this issue that we are facing. I think that you will find this article interesting:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/us/trump-bears-ears.html

  4. Sean 5 months ago

    Sofia, I haven’t been paying too much attention to the news as of late because most of it has Trump plastered all over it, this being one of those issues. I’d hate to see the National Monument get turned into oil fields and locations to drill for gas. Thank you for raising awareness about this topic.

  5. Jack 5 months ago

    Sofia,
    This is a great topic that you have and I am glad you brought it up. This is a very large topic in the U.S. because like you said it is the largest rollback of federally protected land in Americas history. You might find this article interesting. https://earther.com/trump-just-destroyed-bears-ears-national-monument-in-a-1820983891

  6. Thomas 5 months ago

    Sofia, I’m glad you posted this. This is definitely a hot issue in local Utah politics. Another issue with this that I’ve heard on the news is that certain counties in southern Utah have lost a lot of money and land with the monument designations. You might find this article helpful:

    kjzz.org/content/575402/pros-and-cons-national-monument-reductions-utah

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