09:30 PM

For Immediate Release

Defenders Speaks Out Against Proposed National Monument Plans


 An initial comment period ends today for the Department of the Interior’s proposal to develop management plans for the illegally redrawn Bears Ears National Monument. The comment period for a similar fraudulent management proposal for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument ends Friday. In December, President Trump signed two unlawful proclamations massively reducing the size of these two national monuments. The orders cut down the size of Bears Ears National Monument by approximately 85 percent, and shrunk Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to half its original size. The Trump administration is now attempting to create management plans for the remaining monument lands that have been subdivided into multiple, isolated areas.

Statement from Defenders of Wildlife Vice President of Landscape Conservation Mark Salvo:

“The Trump administration’s attempt to strip protections from vital national monument lands is unlawful, and proposing management plans for illegally drawn areas continues this fraudulent charade. This administration’s disregard for wildlife, Native American values and our nation’s conservation legacy is reprehensible. Defenders of Wildlife will continue fighting to save Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante from President Trump’s anti-conservation agenda.”


  • Defenders of Wildlife’s comments on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s interim report and final report recommending the president downsize Bears Ears National Monument.
  • Medium blog post on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, their ecological importance and the Antiquities Act.


  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a unique haven for wildlife in Utah. Spanning an area the size of Delaware, the monument protects a variety of habitats, from deserts to coniferous forests. Grand Staircase is home to black bears, desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions, as well as over 200 species of birds, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons.
  • Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is tremendously important to fish, wildlife and plants. More than 15 species of bats can be found throughout the monument and topographic features such as rock depressions collect scarce rainfall to provide aquatic and riparian habitat for numerous species. Bears Ears is world-renowned for its prized elk population and is also home to mule deer and bighorn sheep. The area’s diversity of soils and rich microenvironments provide for a great diversity of vegetation that sustains dozens of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
  • The Antiquities Act of 1906, the federal law that empowers the president to designate national monuments through public proclamation, marks its 112th anniversary this year. Past presidents have carefully implemented this law to preserve environmental, scientific, historic and cultural values on public lands and waters for all Americans.
  • President Trump issued an executive order on April 26, 2017, calling for a “review” of certain national monuments designated or expanded since 1996. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke subsequently identified and reviewed 27 terrestrial and marine monuments in accordance with the president’s direction, and recommended downsizing or reducing protections for at least 10 of them, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.​
  • Nearly 3 million people weighed in on the national monuments review last summer, most of whom opposed any action that diminishes our national monuments and marine national monuments.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.