“President Obama has designated two areas in the deserts of southern Nevada and Utah as national monuments, after years of fighting and debate over the management of both areas. The newly created Bears Ears National Monument will protect roughly 1.35 million acres of land in southeast Utah from future development. Gold Butte National Monument will give federal protections to roughly 300,000 acres in southwest Nevada…The designation is a win for a number of groups. Environmental activists and Native American tribes have been fighting for protection of both areas for years and are applauding the decision.” N. Rott, NPR
“In a statement, Obama said the designations protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes. Those protections begin immediately, but how long they’ll last is uncertain.
State and local politicians in Utah and Nevada have vowed to fight any federal designations on state land, calling them land grabs and executive overreach — arguments heard in many parts of the rural West…Obama has used executive power to establish or expand national monuments 29 times during his tenure, most recently in California, Hawaii and the Atlantic Ocean. But the designations in Nevada and Utah, two largely rural, Republican-held states, could prove to be the most contentious.
The Navajo, Hopi, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni all have ancestral ties to Bears Ears. Under the new designation, they’ll co-manage the national monument with the federal government and will still be allowed to access the land for tribal ceremonies, firewood and herb collection, hunting, grazing and outdoor recreation.
As a coalition of five sovereign Native American tribes in the region, we are confident that today’s announcement of collaborative management will protect a cultural landscape that we have known since time immemorial said Alfred Lomahquahu, vice chairman of Hope Tribe.
Gold Butte is home to the Moapa Band of Paiutes and has a number of archaeological sites, which have seen a recent rise in vandalism as anti-federal-government sentiments have simmered in Nevada.”
Today, I am designating two new national monuments in the desert landscapes of southeastern Utah and southern Nevada to protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes… Importantly, today I have also established a Bears Ears Commission to ensure that tribal expertise and traditional knowledge help inform the management of the Bears Ears National Monument and help us to best care for its remarkable national treasures.
Thank you all for your partnership. Thank you for this journey.
I’ll see you on the other side. May God bless you. God bless the United States of America. ~President Barack Obama~December 28, 2016