I am writing today to share that I will be transitioning out of my role as Executive Director of Grand Staircase Partners. GSEP, and the land for which it is a steward, have undergone extraordinary changes since the end of the last decade. Restoration of the original boundaries of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument and multidisciplinary programs to preserve the Monument’s sensitive scientific, historic, cultural, and biological resources are the most visible changes. There are many more. I have felt exhilarated and proud to have been the Executive Director of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners during this period, and I am deeply grateful for the support of people, like you, across the country and the world.
I will complete my time as executive director over the balance of 2023. Throughout this process, and beyond, I will remain a steadfast partner to GSEP and the Monument. I am committed to helping our board of directors conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director and I will work passionately with our staff to ensure that all our programs thrive. I also intend to sit on the Monument Advisory Committee through 2024 as the representative for conservation interests. All of this is to say that although I am leaving my role as GSEP’s Executive Director, I will never leave the Monument.
When I joined Grand Staircase Escalante Partners in 2019, I worked with the board of directors to set a new course for our organization. Together, we created a mission statement, vision, values, and a multi-year strategic plan. Some key goals included 1) continued advocacy and legal action for the restoration of the original Monument boundaries, 2) developing relationships with tribal representatives to better understand tribal connections to the land and support co-stewardship, and 3) formalizing our partnership with the BLM to work collaboratively and effectively to address the Monument’s conservation needs.
In October of 2021, I was honored to represent GSEP, and all of you, at the White House signing ceremony of the new Proclamation for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that not only restored the boundaries, but also affirmed that the entire connected landscape and all of the objects of scientific, cultural, and historical value present within this vast, rugged terrain, are worthy of protections under the Antiquities Act. The boundaries were restored and now less than two years later, as planned, on August 11, 2023 a draft Resource Management Plan will be released for public comment.After several years of meetings with tribal representatives and Tribal Listening Sessions, this September we will convene the first in-person meeting of the Inter-Tribal Working Group, with the goal of honoring tribal connections and working collaboratively to support co-stewardship. Also, this past month, we signed our official Friends Group agreement with the BLM, formalizing our working relationship to support Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The experiences I have had as executive director have been deeply gratifying. I transition away from the role fully confident that the next director will bring the skills, expertise, and passion to lead GSEP to act as steward and protect the Monument through science, conservation, and education. This director will have the good fortune of a highly qualified team of board and staff members working strategically with an eye to the future. The new executive director will also rely on your dynamic support to address ever-changing and intensifying pressures. We face increased drought conditions, record visitation, and an array of political pressures to strip the Monument of its protections. To learn more about the executive director position and the application process, please visit the job posting here. I encourage you to share this opportunity with your friends and colleagues.
Thank you for your support, trust, and partnership throughout the years. And for your continued commitment to honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.