Federal land chief moves to shrink four national monuments


Established Dec. 28, 2016: The 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in the remote desert canyonlands of southern Utah was designated by President Obama, who created more national monuments than any other president.

The White House refused to comment on the leaked documents - "especially internal drafts which are still under review".

Zinke recommends alterations to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalente in Utah; Cascade-Siskiyou on the California-Oregon border; Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico; Gold Butte in Nevada; Katahdin Woods and Waters in ME; and two marine monuments in the Pacific and another one 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Mass. Cascade-Siskiyou is mostly in southern OR, on national forest and BLM land near Ashland, but about 5,000 acres extends into Siskiyou County, California.

Zinke's report states "certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity".

A memo from Zinke to the president justifying his recommendation that the boundary of the monument, which lies mostly in OR and crosses over into California, be "revised" says motor vehicles aren't allowed in it. However no amounts are specified.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 19-page memo, which was submitted to the White House last month and has not been officially released. "We will have to wait to see what potential legal actions by outside entities are generated and see how things work out from there".

San Luis Obispo County's Carrizo Plain National Monument is not on the list of monuments nationwide recommended for elimination or size reduction by U.S. Dept. of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

"That this cursory review set in motion proposed changes that could fundamentally alter what we have is a travesty", Marsh said. "Before the expansion of the monument in 2014, less than five percent of the catch was taken within that area".

Cascade-SiskiyouPilot Rock rises into the clouds in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument near Lincoln, Ore.

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She said invertebrates and other marine organisms don't recognize a monument's boundaries "but are the ones ultimately in danger of losing their homes if protections are rolled back".

He said the O&C lands present an interesting conundrum, but there have been subsequent laws passed since the 1940 decision, like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talks to the media on Sunday, July 30, 2017, outside a private home in Bunkerville. "A one sentence statement by a president is not sacrosanct". Trump has no authority to make any of the changes that Zinke's recommending.

"The fate of this OR treasure should not be another state secret on top of everything else this administration has tried to keep in the dark". But it's unclear what he meant when he referred to "active timber management" in a memo.

"The whole premise seemed to be opening these lands up to oil and gas development and commercial logging", Mark Allison, executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, said shortly before a Monday night rally in Albuquerque supporting the monuments.

The Trump administration's plan for shrinking and diminishing protections at America's national monuments appears far more expansive than previously reported, targeting 10 of the nation's most ecologically sensitive landscapes and marine preserves for diminished protection.

Conservation groups balked at such a change.

Bob Rees, founder of the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association, said: "Rolling back protections on Cascade-Siskiyou would be the worst attack on OR hunters and anglers I've seen in my twenty years as a fishing guide".

No president has tried to eliminate a monument, but boundaries have been trimmed or redrawn 18 times, according to the National Park Service.