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Department of the Interior

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department is increasing fees at the most popular national parks to $35 per vehicle, backing down from an earlier plan that would have forced visitors to pay $70 per vehicle to visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and other iconic parks.

Too many decisions about the West get made in Washington, D.C. At least, that's what the Secretary of the Interior thinks. Ryan Zinke plans to move thousands of the department’s employees out west to manage water, public lands and energy from there. How might this seemingly dull, bureaucratic plan affect the West in interesting ways? Here's how people with a vested interest responded–starting in Wyoming.  


JUDY FAHYS/KUER News

The latest battle over Utah’s shrunken national monuments has been playing out this week in rural communities. 

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The U.S. Interior Department still doesn’t have a top lawyer, even though Interior Secretary Zinke put forward Ryan Nelson’s name last summer.

U.S Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, says it’s time for the Senate to confirm Nelson for the post.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

The Bureau of Land Management held an online auction Tuesday for oil and gas leases in southeastern Utah. Conservation groups and Native Americans protested drilling in places that are also rich with cultural meaning.

National Park Service

They felt like the Interior Department had snubbed their valuable work, so most members of the National Park System Advisory Board resigned last week.

Erik Neumann / KUER

On this first Monday after the government shutdown was announced, Utah’s national parks and monuments remain open, but visitors will get slightly more of a wilderness experience than normal. 

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City is now one of 50 cities that will participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative.

U.S. Depertment of the Interior

President Obama announced Friday the designation of three new national monuments including the Basin and Range National Monument in southeastern Nevada.

Interior Secretary Jewell Wants Kids Outdoors

Jan 22, 2014
Judy Fahys

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wants young Americans to spend more time outdoors. She spoke to members of the Outdoor Industry Association on Thursday about ways to pay for the initiative.

BLM Puts San Rafael Swell Areas Up For Auction

Aug 22, 2013

The federal Bureau of Land Management intends to lease nearly one hundred forty thousand acres in and around the San Rafael Swell in eastern Utah for oil and gas drilling. Many conservationist groups are angry about the lease auction, which is set to take place in November. 

The BLM itself has deemed much of the land to have wilderness and recreational value, but BLM Spokesperson Megan Crandall says that they decide whether to manage lands for wilderness uses or for other uses, like development.

Interior Facing Cuts in GOP Budget

Jul 29, 2013
Dan Bammes

  The Secretary of the Interior is trying to persuade Republicans in Congress not to eliminate funding for a land conservation program by linking it to another they typically support.  

Secretary Sally Jewell held a conference call with reporters to point out the economic activity linked to tourism, energy production and other activities on public land.  She put it at more than 13-billion dollars, well above the total budget of 11-point-9 billion for the whole department.

Interior Appointment Applauded

Feb 6, 2013
REI

  President Obama's appointment of a new Secretary of the Interior is winning qualified praise from environmentalists and at least one member of the Utah Congressional delegation.

The president picked Sally Jewell, the top executive of REI, the outdoor equipment retailer, to replace Ken Salazar.  Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club says that's a good choice.

Salazar to Step Down as Interior Secretary

Jan 16, 2013
Dan Bammes

President Barack Obama will have to find a replacement for the Secretary of the Interior in his second term. Ken Salazar is planning to leave the job in March.