For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Haley McKey, 202-772-0247,

President Trump Launches Attack on Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

WASHINGTON - President Trump just signed two proclamations massively reducing the size of two national monuments in Utah. Documents leaked last week indicate that Bears Ears National Monument may be cut by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument may be shrunk by half. What remains of the monument lands may be subdivided into multiple, isolated areas.

Statement from Defenders of Wildlife’s President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“This is a shameful and illegal attack on our nation’s protected lands. National monuments are designated for their scientific, cultural and conservation value ­– because they are too important to damage and degrade. Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave.

“It’s not surprising that the Trump administration moved to sell out our national monuments. What is surprising is that they seem to think they can get away with it. We’ll be seeing President Trump in court.”


  • Our National Monuments Reporter Resources page, with background information, comments, video, photos, past statements and blogs.Medium 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 of great conservation value to many 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 habitat for numerous aquatic 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, marked its 111th anniversary this year. 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 ten of them.​
  • Nearly 3 million people weighed in on the national monuments review over the summer, most of whom opposed any action that diminishes our national monuments and marine national monuments.

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Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.

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