SALT LAKE CITY — As President Donald Trump visited Utah Monday and announced a reduction of two national monuments, we asked Deseret News readers whether they agree or disagree with the change.
Over 1,300 people responded, with about 805 people indicating they disagreed with the president's decision. Around 475 said they agreed that the monuments should be reduced.
During his whirlwind trip to Utah on Monday, Trump cut the nearly 1.5 million acres of the Bears Ears National Monument into two, smaller pieces: the 86,447-acre Indian Creek unit and a 142,337-acre Shash Jaa unit.
Additionally, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was cut back from nearly 1.9 million acres to three units — the 211,983-acre Grand Staircase, the 551,117-acre Kaiparowits and the 243,241-acre Escalante Canyons.
Readers who said they disagreed with Trump's decision to whittle down the monuments decried the loss of beautiful and historic areas that have deep significance to the state's native people. Instead, they want to see the land preserved for future generations, they said.
Many who agreed with the president's decision to cut the size of both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase said the federal government has no place telling Utahns what to do with the land, criticizing former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton for "overreaching" when they put protections on the lands. The designations hurt ranchers and others trying to make a living in the area, they said.
The following is a sample of responses from Deseret News readers.
• "It's a beautiful area but it's at risk for exploitation. And it cannot be replaced if it's destroyed in the process. I say this as the daughter of a geologist who spent his life balancing his love of the West with the needs of his company to make money through mineral extraction."
• "The tribes are in favor of the monument and they should have more say than any other group."
• "No reason to release this land. Taking from the American people so it can be carved up by private interests is disgusting."
Agree10 comments on this story
• "This is a great compromise. The Antiquities Act was never meant to be used in such large expansive ways. It was meant to protect small irreplaceable items with the smallest possible footprint. These two monuments abused the Antiquities Act."
• "The federal government already owns far too much of the state. It's sad that so many Western states are majority owned by the govt."
• "Bear's Ears can go back to ranchers while protecting what's left of the dwellings. … And let Grand Staircase be ran and maintained by the local towns in that region."