Environment & Public Lands
2:30 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

New National Monument Proposed for Southern Utah

Island in the Sky
Island in the Sky - Canyonlands National Park
Credit Dan Bammes
    More than a hundred businesses involved in outdoor recreation are sending a letter to President Obama asking him to create a Greater Canyonlands National Monument.  Their proposal would stretch from Hanksville almost to Blanding and include all of Canyonlands National Park and part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Ashley Korenblat, who owns Western Spirit Cycling in Moab, says it would limit development for extractive industries such as oil and gas, but it wouldn't keep off-road vehicles from enjoying access to roads and trails similar to what they have now. "Part of good management of recreation landscapes is sorting out what roads and trails people should use to provide them with the type of experience they're looking to have," Korenblat said in a conference call with reporters.  "So when we work with the administration to determine the management of the monument, we'd be working to optimize recreation experiences for every visitor." The Outdoor Industry Association has been critical of Governor Gary Herbert for what they say is a lack of attention to outdoor recreation as a business in Utah.  It hosts Utah's largest trade show twice a year in Salt Lake City.   Republican State Representative Mike Noel, whose district includes the proposed national monument, sees it as another attempt by environmental extremists to control public land for their own benefit. He tells KUER, "It creates a situation where you have the local people and you have the state of Utah that loses what I think is an issue of state sovereignty, of what we can do with our public lands." The president can create national monuments without prior authorization from Congress under the Antiquities Act.  President Clinton used that authority to create the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996.