November 14, 2018

Patagonia Blacks Out Homepage, Calls on Consumers to Protect Public Lands

07 December 2017, 11:03 | Regina Holmes

George Frey Getty Images

George Frey Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Monday signed presidential proclamations which vastly reduce the size of two protected red rock canyon areas in Utah: The Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

The sites feature thousands of Native American artefacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and the wall-carvings known as petroglyphs. About 1.7 million acres of land was declared protected under Proclamation 6920 by former President Bill Clinton on September 18, 1996, (Congress added more later) and Trump's Monday order reduces that to just over 1 million acres. He said environmental and Native American groups had plenty of time to prepare their response to reports of dramatic reductions at the monuments.

But the wilderness groups say Trump needs to bone up on the Antiquities Act.

The reasoning behind the move is to designate as protected "the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects of scientific or historic interest", and the proclamation also opens the newly public lands to "disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing; and location, entry, and patent under the mining laws". The second will reduce the size of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by another 800,000 acres, to just under half of its current size, according to fact sheets from the White House.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, created by Bill Clinton in 1996, will be downsized from 1.9 million acres to 1 million acres. And we'll use every tool available and we will prevail.

While President Trump explained that modifying these landmarks would open land up to citizens and American businesses, Patagonia and REI are arguing that this decision would instead deplete both national monuments, prevent people from using public lands for recreational activities and harm the prosperity of the USA outdoor industry.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke hit out at Patagonia on Tuesday.

"We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts", CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement to AdAge.

Valley of the Gods in Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, May 11, 2017.

However, the verdict of diminishing the Bears Ears National Monument is supposed to set off the legal battle which could alter the trail of American land conservation, keeping many other dozens of national monuments at the risk and probably opening million numbers of preserved public acres to gas and oil extraction, logging, mining and many other commercial activities.

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