Comment period opens for management plans at downsized Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments
Lands cut from Grand Staircase National Monument part of a separate draft plan
On August 15, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a notice announcement for a management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and for lands previously included in the GSENM that are now identified as the “Kanab-Escalante Planning Area.” The BLM also published a notice of intent to prepare monument management plans for the reduced Bears Ears National Monument ‘s Indian Creek and Shash Ja´a Units.
The BLM will accept public comments on the draft Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Kanab-Escalante
Planning Area plans through November 15, and those planning documents can be found here. The BLM will also accept comments on the Bears Ears plans through November 15, and those planning documents can be found here.
Designated in 1996, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will have 880,000 acres cut from it under the BLM’s new management plan, nearly half its size. The Bears Ears National Monument, designated in 2016, lost 85% of its protected lands, with just 200,000 acres remaining. Some organizations have expressed concerns that the lands cut from both monuments will be managed primarily for resource extraction, which could potentially damage the recreation economies in both areas. Already, a Canadian mining concern has purchased a mine in lands formerly in GSENM, with intentions to extract copper and cobalt.
If you’d like to submit comments, you can send them via mail to: 669 S Hwy 89A Kanab, UT 84741, Attn: Matt Betenson. You can also submit comments online through the eplanning portal here starting on August 17th.