While the monuments in Utah aren’t really “fishy” spots, the move by President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke represents a slippery slope that could spread to other national monuments and federally-managed lands that are key public resources for fishing.
Mounting threats to public lands leave sportsmen and women asking ‘what’s next?
President Trump announced today that he intends to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by nearly two million acres, putting sportsmen and women across the country on alert as they expressed disappointment over the move to undermine the Antiquities Act.
Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, this law has been used by Republicans and Democrats alike to secure habitat and ensure access to millions of acres of public lands for fishing and hunting. The move reduces Bears Ears National Monument by 90 percent from 1.3 million acres to 202,000 acres and divides it into two new monuments. It also reduces Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from 1.9 million acres to one million acres, dividing it into three new monuments.
“The decision today should be deeply alarming to sportsmen and women. Actions that erode protections for any national monument jeopardize others across the nation. Will that be next?” said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Will we lose protection for the brook trout fishing in Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument; the iconic fishery in Browns Canyon in Colorado? Will the administration next choose to remove protections for redbands in Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument? Sportsmen and women cannot afford to sacrifice the collaborative and bipartisan efforts that have led to the conservation of our most treasured landscapes. Public lands are the birthright of all Americans – we need to keep it that way and ensure we leave these lands healthier and more productive for future generations.”
Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were two of dozens of national monuments which underwent review this year. The results of that report have yet to be released to the public, but national monuments enjoy broad public support.
National monuments conserve important habitat and access for hunting and fishing opportunities while allowing for a variety of uses compatible with resources in need of protection. Efforts to roll back national monuments are part of a growing threat to America’s public lands and sporting heritage. Others include declining budgets for public land management agency, weakening bedrock conservation laws, and legislation in Congress to dismantle the 111-year-old Antiquities Act.
“We need to work collaboratively to find solutions for public land management,” said Andy Rasmussen, Utah Coordinator for Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen Conservation Project. “There’s a better way forward, but it requires real leadership and all parties coming to the table in good faith. Unfortunately, using questionable legal authority to reduce protections for millions of acres of public land threatens this good faith and continues to lead us down a path of conflict instead of collaboration.”
Stand up for monuments today: http://standup.tu.org/protect-our-public-lands/