Zinke To Visit Bears Ears, Solicit Public Comment

The public can soon weigh in on the designation of National Monuments, including the controversial Bears Ears.

Zinke To Visit Bears Ears, Solicits Public Comment
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visits Bears Ears on May 8, 2017. Photo courtesy: Dept. of the Interior

On Friday, the Department of the Interior released the full list of national monuments it will review following President Trump’s recent executive order. Under the order, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will evaluate the designations of every national monument over 100,000 acres made since 1996 and report back about possibly rescinding monument status.

In all, 27 national monuments on land and at sea will receive scrutiny. To kick off the review process, Zinke traveled to Utah to launch a “listening period” to solicit public input on the state’s hotly contested Bears Ears and Grand Escalante national monuments.

And you can make your opinion heard. The visit will culminate with the kickoff to an unprecedented nationwide public comment period that opens May 12.

Zinke To Visit Bears Ears, Solicits Public Comment
Secretary Zinke tours Bears Ears on his national monument listening tour, May 8, 2017. Photo courtesy: Dept. of the Interior

Though no comment period is required or binding, “Ryan Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that local input is a critical component of federal land management,” according to a press release by the Dept. of the Interior.

How To Comment

The Dept. of the Interior will launch a public comment period on all national monuments on May 12. Following the official notice in the Federal Registry, people will have 15 days to send comments on Bears Ears national monument and 60 days for all other monuments under review.

Editor’s Note: We will update links as the public comment goes live.

To submit a comment, go to the government’s Regulations page and type “DOI-2017-0002” into the search bar. Or, mail comments to:

Monument Review

MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240.

Secretary Zinke At Bears Ears

Though more than two dozen national monuments go under the microscope as part of Trump’s executive order, at the heart of the controversy is Bears Ears in Utah.

Zinke To Visit Bears Ears, Solicits Public Comment
Secretary Zinke meets with locals weighing in on Bears Ears’ national monument status. Photo courtesy: Dept. of the Interior

In February, Utah Governor Gary Herbert sent a resolution to the president to rescind national monument status from Bears Ears. That sparked a massive backlash from the outdoors industry and led to Outdoor Retailer, one of the industry’s preeminent trade shows, announcing its departure from Utah after 20 years there.

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The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), a group of more than 1,200 brands and a large chunk of the $887 billion outdoor recreation industry, united against any move to rescind monument status from Bears Ears.

On Tuesday, Secretary Zinke visits the contentious national monument for day three of his four-day “listening tour” in Utah. Zinke will use the tour to interact with the public and hear input on both Bears Ears and Grand Escalante.

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Zinke’s ‘Listening Tour’ & Public Comment

Zinke To Visit Bears Ears, Solicits Public Comment
President Trump announcing executive order 13792 to review national monument designations. Photo courtesy Department of the Interior

ZInke already visited Utah’s Bureau of Land Management on Sunday and House on Fire Ruins Monday. He will visit Bears Ears today.

In all, Zinke will consider the fate of nearly 230 million acres of federally protected land.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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