Deseret News
FILE: Political leaders and other Utahns react to President Barack Obama's decision to designate a national monument in the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah.

"We are proud of President Obama for recognizing the need to protect the spectacular natural and historic lands in the Bears Ears area. Utah leaders have deliberated for years regarding how to best preserve Bears Ears. When our GOP leaders failed to find a solution that prioritized protecting these cherished lands while showing respect for indigenous culture and traditions, an executive order became a last resort to preserve this amazing part of Utah's landscape."

— Peter Corroon, Utah Democratic Party chairman

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“This monument speaks to our core knowledge that this beautiful land was given to us to care for, learn from and grow. Proposals to protect these sacred lands have been on the drawing board for 80 years. For decades, presidents, governors, state and local leaders have studied the best ways to protect these special places. We cannot ignore the deeply spiritual aspects of this land, its meaning to those who use it and love it, and its immeasurable worth to people now and in the future. A monument like this is so much greater than all of us, than any political squabble. Creating the Bears Ears National Monument is the right thing to do for Utah, for our country and for our future.”

— Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City

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“Thank you, President Obama, for protecting Bears Ears for untold future generations. Thank you, Native Americans. This is your land and your victory!”

— Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City

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“By protecting Bears Ears and Gold Butte, President Obama has secured his legacy as one of America’s great conservation presidents. These spectacular landscapes, with their archaeological sites threatened by looting and vandalism, are in dire need of protection. … Plans to protect Bears Ears have been in the works for 80 years, dating back to the proposed Escalante National Monument in 1936. Utah’s congressional delegation, led by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, chose not to pass the long-promised Public Lands Initiative this session, leaving a national monument designation as the only remaining option for protecting Bears Ears."

— Jennifer Rokala, Center for Western Priorities executive director

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"We applaud the president’s action today and are grateful that these incredible vistas and irreplaceable cultural and historic sites will be protected for generations to come. We offer our gratitude to the tribal leaders who have never given up their fight for the preservation of their cultural heritage and sacred lands."

Utah Senate Minority Caucus

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"We are psyched that President Obama has chosen to provide permanent protection for one of the most incredible outdoor destinations in the country. The Bears Ears region is world-famous for rock climbing, mountain biking and paddling."

— Adam Cramer, Outdoor Alliance

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"Today’s announcement is not just a victory for the coalition, but a precious gift for all Americans who can now visit and enjoy the Bears Ears landscape in perpetuity."

— Bill Hedden, Grand Canyon Trust executive director

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“Designation of Bears Ears National Monument, adjacent to Canyonlands and other beloved national park sites, underscores the significance of the landscape and honors the Native Americans who have long-called for preservation of their cultural heritage.”

— Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association