Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
The Arch canyon area of Bears Ears as Media members get a chance to fly over the Bears Ears National Monument with EcoFLIGHT on Monday, May 8, 2017. The Bureau of Land Management scheduled four meetings in late March to give the public a chance to weigh in on a new monument management plans for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments that were downsized in December.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Bureau of Land Management will host four meetings to give the public a chance to weigh in on new management plans being crafted for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Overall, the process involves developing six land use plans and two associated environmental impact statements that cover 2.1 million acres of federal land in San Juan, Garfield and Kane counties.

The scoping period for these planning efforts was initiated Jan. 16 for two units in the Bears Ears region — the Shash Jaa and Indian Creek — as well as for the Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits and Escalante Canyon units at what was once Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

That monument and Bears Ears National Monument's boundaries were reduced in December by President Donald Trump in action now under legal challenge by Native American tribes and multiple environmental groups.

In the interim, the federal land management agency has moved ahead with management plans for the new units, as well as federal land that was part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument but is now excluded from monument boundaries.

Bears Ears meetings have been set for 4:30-8 p.m. Monday, March 26, at San Juan High School, 311 N. 100 East, Blanding; and 4:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at the Bluff Community Center, 300 East and Mulberry Bluff Road, Bluff.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument meetings are 4:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at Kanab Middle School, 690 S. Cowboy Way, Kanab; and 4:30-8 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the Canyon Country Lodge, 760 E. state Route 12, Escalante.

Additional information on the planning process is available online.

Members of the public are being encouraged to help identify any issues, management questions or concerns that should be addressed in the planning process. The public scoping meetings provide the public an opportunity to talk to resource specialists and submit written comments in person.

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Comments must be received within 15 days of the last scheduled public meeting for the specific planning effort.

Comments on the Bears Ears plan may also be submitted until April 11 directly through the project ePlanning page, mailed to P.O. Box 7, Monticello, UT 84535, or emailed to [email protected]

Comments on the Grand Staircase plan may also be submitted until April 13 directly through the projectePlanning page, mailed to 669 S. U.S. 89A, Kanab, UT 84741, or emailed to [email protected]