PRESS RELEASE: President Biden to Order Complete Restoration

Oct 8, 2021 | Newsroom

Photo by Jeffrey Sipress of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

PRESS RELEASE: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Protected: President Biden to Order Complete Restoration

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is committed to honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science, conservation, and education.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2021, AT 5:30 A.M. MDT

KANAB, UT, October 8, 2021 — Today, President Biden will issue a presidential proclamation to fully restore the boundary protections of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and Bears Ears National Monument. President Biden’s actions will deliver on the promise for conservation protections illegally ripped away from these national monuments in 2017 by former President Trump. Preserving GSENM as a whole increases its ecological resilience, offers unparalleled opportunities for scientific research, and protects the significant cultural heritage of the land. This redemptive action signals that President Biden and his administration are committed to addressing climate change, building a more equitable society, and investing in a sustainable economy.

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) is committed to honoring the past and safeguarding the future of GSENM through science, conservation, and education. “We believe that each generation that walks upon the earth experiences a land shaped by the decisions of its ancestors,” said Scott Berry, Board Vice President for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. “Today, we celebrate with Americans across the country the long-sought restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by Pres. Biden — an action that represents a national commitment to science and a dedication to creating a healthy environment for generations to come.

Today’s proclamation ensures these national monuments will be protected and positioned to foster maximum ecological resilience as global climate change increasingly impacts the American Southwest. This act of preservation safeguards the thousands of unique plant, animal, and insect species that rely on the ecosystems connected throughout the Colorado Plateau. It enables world-renowned research opportunities for paleontology and climate change. And it honors the sacred landscape home to Indigenous Peoples, including the Paiute, Hopi, Zuni, Dine/Navajo, Ute, Jemez Pueblo, Ute Mountain Ute, and Acoma nations. 

Davina Smith, Board Member for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, stated, “I remember the following quote from the U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka that helped me become more involved in environmental advocacy. ‘The relationship between Native nations and their environment is sacred. It is the foundation of their cultures and worldview.’ Being from the San Juan county area, Bears Ears National Monument has always been my focus. Being a new Board member for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, I also know it is important to focus on inclusion for Indigenous communities linked to Grand Staircase Escalante. Now with the announcement of restoring the national monuments, we have much more work ahead of us. And I couldn’t be more excited and honored to be a part of building these bridges.”

“We are grateful for the restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as a connected and protected landscape,” said Sarah Bauman, Executive Director for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. “We also know that this is only the beginning of our work to ensure that this landscape — the first Monument placed into the National Landscape Conservation System — is conserved, and its important science objectives, inclusive of Indigenous knowledge, realized. We look forward to working with Tribal leaders, conservation partners, the Bureau of Land Management, local and state officials, and others to safeguard irreplaceable natural and cultural resources, conduct essential research related to biodiversity and climate change, and protect Grand Staircase in perpetuity.”

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners knows that to keep our promise to the future and to realize our vision to honor the land and learn its lessons. We will need to work with, not against, our neighbors and the public land management agencies to find collective and inclusive solutions to our common challenges. Regardless of where you may live or where you are from, we invite you to join us in the celebration of Utah’s wildlands and the restoration of a place like no other place on earth – Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Contact: Sarah Bauman, Executive Director for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners — sarah@gsenm.org

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