On the heels of President Trump's announcement of national monument reductions, Congressman Chris Stewart announced a sixth national park. Sound nice? Not so fast. Read the small print. The bill's true purpose is to negate any judicial decisions regarding Trump's reductions. The bill will codify the president's reductions, making them permanent.
I live near Grand Staircase-Escalante in southern Utah. Most of my weekends are spent hiking, camping, packrafting and canyoneering. The monument's reduction and breakup destroys the opportunity to experience wilderness without crowds. Congressman Stewart's bill will hand Hole in the Rock Road over to Utah so that it may be paved. This paved road and a new national park will draw millions of people to the area, leading to overcrowding like we see in Zion and Arches, except that neither the new park nor the road will have the levels of protections normally found in national parks or national monuments. Thus, our area will experience more off-road vehicle use over delicate rock structures, ancient rock art used for target practice and Mormon historical markers defaced.