Bears Ears Reduction

Trump announced he will be reducing Bears Ears National Monument in Utah


Bears Ears Monument. Photo courtesy of Jim Lo Scalzo.

Francesca Testen, In Focus Editor

Walking down a city street can be a bit overwhelming. Vendors try to hawk their cheesy touristy souvenirs, while hordes of people crowd the sidewalk, and the busy traffic creates a din of noise and confusion. Sometimes, people want to leave cities, even if temporarily, and come to a place where they can return to nature. Some people find the silence of nature to be intoxicating, while others just enjoy the beautiful sights that it has to offer. However, a recent presidential declaration may drastically reduce the size of a U.S. National Monument–and spark an uproar about presidential power.

On December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he would be reducing Bears Ears National Monument in Utah by 85 percent, and cut the Grand Staircase-Escalante, another U.S. National Monument in Utah to roughly half its size. This reduction in land of National Monuments has sparked an argument between different groups and caused many people to question the limits of presidential power concerning land protection. Many Native American tribes of the area and environmentalists are opposed to the reduction of these monuments. Some local residents of the area in Utah and many Republican lawmakers applauded Trump’s decision because they feel National Monuments take land away from local and state governments for other uses.

Bears Ears National Monument was created by former President Barack Obama in December 2016 following outcries from five Native American tribes in the region. The area is said to contain thousands of artifacts, burial sites and is extremely significant to those whose ancestors once lived on the land. Trump’s plans of reducing the monument would decrease the area to only 195,000 acres, a significant decrease in size from its current 1.3 million acres.
(To read the rest of this story, pick up a copy of the December issue of The Hawkeye from the stands located outside the main office or the library.)