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Biden Administration Restores Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

Utah Sustainability News National Parks
by Jori Ayers Oct 8, 2021

President Biden will restore full protections for the Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. The order will protect 1.36 million acres in Bears Ears while restoring the 1.78 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument and reimposing fishing restrictions in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. The order reverses cuts to these monuments imposed by the Trump Administration.

The federals and officials confirmed Thursday that Biden would be signing three proclamations to restore these monuments. Tribal nations in and around the monuments cheered the decision, as did environmentalists and those who depend on the recreation-based tourism in and around land operated by the National Park Service.

According to NBC News, The Biden administration said in a memo that this proclamation is an effort “to better protect, conserve, and restore the lands and waters that sustain the health of communities and power our economy.”

The Trump administration had stripped millions of acres of protected land from the monuments in 2017. After the Trump Administrations stripped these monuments, there was soon backlash and hate from tribal activists, conservationists, and letters from environmentalists and Native American tribes. Even before taking office in January, President Biden faced calls from these groups restore the monuments to their prior size and scope.

“We want to thank the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition for their leadership and thank all of our friends in the Indigenous and environmental communities who have worked to protect Bears Ears National Monument,” said Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert in a statement. Patagonia had worked since 2013 to protect the monuments and was a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s decision. “We also want to thank the Biden administration, especially Secretary Haaland, for their work to restore protections for more than a million acres of sacred land. We have a shared responsibility to conserve these important cultural landscapes for future generations.”

Biden is expected to sign the proclamations today to restore those monuments.

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