Op-ed: Tell the truth about monuments and parks in Utah

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  • Sportsfan123 Salt lake, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 2:37 p.m.

    Is anyone going to adress the false statement in this article?

    "Trumps decision to remove bears ears and Grand Staircase Escalante".

    Trump did not remove anything, he downsized the area in which was designated in the monument by Oblama. He found a compromise, one that should help ease and satisfy to a degree both sides, obviously neither side is completely satisfied no matter which way it goes.

    Take into consideration there was over 1800 acres of private property included in Oblama's designation which is not fare to its property owners.

    There are too many actors and players in the land grab by the govt. to keep anyone happy, however I believe in states rights and the people of Utah native americans land owners ... those who have a vested interest in those lands should be the ones to decide how to preserve and use this land we dont need the fed govt to decide it for us.

    The good note is that Bears Ears has been preserved it is still a monument, and will be for the foreseeable future its just scosh smaller than the rediculous acreage Oblama designated, and there is nothing wrong with that.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 11, 2017 8:54 p.m.

    KDave..... so you know how native Americans feel about these lands? You are one... right? Just want to know what basis you are using to say the person is a liar.

  • Highland Horseman American Fork, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 2:52 p.m.

    I like profits and I don't like this author's brand of misinformation

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2017 9:57 a.m.

    Several of the comments here seem to be making the argument that the monuments have no effect, positive or negative, on the landscape, that monument designation doesn't really change anything. Therefore, they should be downsized or eliminated. Non sequitur, anyone?

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 10, 2017 4:39 a.m.

    What nonsense. emb

  • old cuss 101 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 11:58 p.m.

    It is hard to make a reasoned response to an unreasonable expression. If you get in a fight with a skunk, you come out smelling as bad as he does.

    Follow the money. The largest financial undertakings seem to come from the environmental lobby in the form of legal engagements. There may be some pro bono work involved, but it is not obvious. At that, the headlines garnered by the lawsuits make great advertising for the organizations and for the recreation industry. It seems you can see the environmental world laughing all the way to the bank.

    The extractive resource exaggerations related first to mining and then to oil and gas are unlikely outcomes, but if successfully implemented (economically viable) could be seen as "promoting the the general welfare" of the country.

    Someone must be able to articulate that it is better to claim usable, renewable timber from the stump than it is to let it go to waste by beetle or fire, polluting the atmosphere in the process.

    One idea that doesn't get much press, monument or no, is to develop visual access to the so called wonderful sites in the form of metered roads like unto those of Mesa Verde, with view points looking at key areas.

  • Reality-Check Guy Orem, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 2:03 p.m.

    I’m an environmentalist. I was happy with the monument designations by Presidents Clinton and Obama. I care very much about Utah’s Native American history and the preservation of archaeological sites and artifacts. And unlike most people who have strong opinions on the national monument designations, I have actually spent time in Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears. I was disappointed with President Trump’s decisions about the monuments. But having said all that, I hope we can make our case better than what we see in this article, which is full of wild exaggeration and unfair characterizations of people who disagree with the author. Unfortunately, this has been the case with most of the environmental arguments since the beginning of the discussion of these monuments. I’m on the side of this article’s author, but I’ve observed more interest in discussion and compromise from those on the other side, including some of our elected politicians (for whom I didn’t vote, by the way).

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 1:38 p.m.


    First, you have filled you comments with your opinions and your perceptions. "These threats are real, and they are urgent" may sound like a fact to you but it isn't and it was the strongest statement you made in point #2. "Utahns want a new national monument" is a complete fabrication as I and others I know are not clamoring for one. So it is not fact but hyperbole. There is a difference although it may escape someone who can only see through the filters of her own biases.

    Second, in all your rhetoric you failed to make the case that Trump's action will change anything at all. In fact, it could be argued that you undermine that argument when you said: "At least five serious cases of desecration are under active investigation." Apparently the NM designation hasn't provided the protection you seem to think it would if it was allowed to stand.

    In short, you completely failed to make a cogent argument based on facts and have instead relied on rhetoric and an inability to see any viewpoint except your own. And you have argued against yourself when you confessed the things you fear are already happening.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 11:25 a.m.

    I wish people would do research and realize that a monument designation actually accomplishes NOTHING. Whether it is in its creation, or downsizing; neither does anything but make the president’s party happy for the token “win.”

    Either declaration also is a success for the Sierra club. They can claim to “fighting for conservation,” and drive fund raising. They are probably getting more money after Trump’s declaration vs. Obama or Clinton’s.

    All of the applicable land is federal land and none has been controlled by the state. A monument declaration actually comes with no funding nor resources to do anything, and the land isn’t treated any differently. The Feds are not spending any more funds to actually conserve anything.

    The Federal government shouldn’t own 2/3rds of Utah. A real discussion would look at future use of federal land; transfer a portion to Native American reservation land, National park service, Department of Defense, and transfer the rest to the state.

    A little optimistic that the parties would have the courage to do it, when they can do-nothing, create a worthless monument declaration and easily make their party happy, and make the Sierra Club a few bucks.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 10:31 a.m.

    3. Protect and Grow Utah’s Recreation Economy

    If anyone loves the outdoors, it’s Utah. An Outdoor Industry Association report shows that outdoor recreation in Utah alone generates $12 billion in consumer spending, $3.6 billion in wages and salaries, and $856 million in state and local tax revenue. But it’s not just about the money—Utah’s outdoors is responsible for 122,000 direct jobs. This shows an even greater need to ensure recreation areas like the Bears Ears region are not handed over to private interests or leased for development and mining, destroying the very land people rely on and love.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 10:29 a.m.

    5. Utahns Want a New National Monument

    Support for Bears Ears is strong, and it is unified. Six of seven Navajo Chapters in Utah have passed resolutions in favor of protecting Bears Ears, as has the Navajo Nation Council. The five sovereign nations of the Inter-Tribal Coalition are in strong support as well—all have issued statements or passed resolutions in support of a Bears Ears National Monument. A total of 21 other southwestern tribes are also in support, as is the National Congress of American Indians, which represents an additional 225 tribes. Utahns also support Bears Ears—the recent State of the Rockies poll found 66% of Utahns in favor of protecting Bears Ears. The people are calling for their land to be saved, and they deserve to be heard.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    1. Halt Desecration and Grave Robbing
    Bears Ears is being pillaged NOW—rock art panels are being vandalized, gravesites are being dug up, and human history is being erased. At least five serious cases of desecration are under active investigation. Many others go unreported. Most go unprosecuted.
    2. Reduce Threats from Irresponsible Development
    These threats are real, and they are urgent. Oil and gas development and potash and uranium mining threaten to restrict access to and forever destroy beloved recreation sites. Bears Ears is worth more than oil, potash, or uranium. The incomparable cultural resources and undeveloped natural landscapes cannot be restored once they are disturbed or destroyed.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    Monetize the WH.

    Monetize the National Parks and Monuments.

    For sale to the highest (or lowest for no-bid opportunities for political donors) bidders.


    Dec. 9, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    Follow the money people, I keep telling you.

    A uranium company launched a concerted lobbying campaign to scale back Bears Ears National Monument, saying such action would give it easier access to the area's uranium deposits and help it operate a nearby processing mill, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

    Also Moab uranianium tailings clean up is a multi-million dollar public expense. Just sayin'

  • Mom and Love It San Juan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    The author has failed to see a few truths. The land is already protected under other laws. Much of it is designated wilderness area; this provides greater protection than a monument status. People have tried mining in San Juan and it has failed- we are not rich enough in resources. I also wonder if the author has actually talked to any natives of San Juan county. They are strongly opposed to the monument. More people means greater destruction of the resources they use throughout the year.

    Yes, our national parks are being loved to death. (Which accounts for the price increases) More people means more upkeep, more wear and tear, more vandalism and more blatant destruction. Respect for the land is what will protect its beauty not a fancy name or more policies that are unenforceable.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 9:44 a.m.

    Cora Smith: Before I respond to your challenge, I challenge you to provide facts from the article (not opinions) that say why this was a bad move. Remember ... FACTS! That means you have to provide a smoking gun not based on fear, not based on conjecture, not based on interpretation of the data but real honest-to-goodness facts.

    For example, the author (among her very few numbers and facts) states " ... over 10,000 fossil sites." So what? Give me the FACTS, not conjecture, about what is going to happen to those sites.

    Throwing out a few numbers and then interpreting them to suit your particular politics has nothing to do with facts. Sportscasters do it all the time. Who is going to win the college football national championship. You will easily find pundits who like any of the four finalists and, guess what, they all use hard data (facts, if you will) to justify their viewpoint. Most of them will be wrong.

    So please get off your high horse enough to respond to your own challenge. Provide a "smoking gun" analysis of why this was a bad move before demanding it from those who disagree with you.

  • RIB Washington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    Dear Ms Soltysiak, If you are trying to change people's minds, then making blanket ad hominem attacks on Utah's political leaders, most of whom were elected by large majorities, is not the way to do it. I am sure that most of our leaders are good people who are sincerely trying to do what they think is best for the state. I know that because I have actually listened to them and followed what they have done.

    I remember learning about logical fallacies way back in high school and your article is an excellent example of "glittering generalities". Your argument does not mention one specific example of the supposed evil that has been done to Utah lands. You even contradict yourself by pointing out how popular our national parks are! And you fail to mention that the world is NOT stampeding to see the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM.

    Here is how you win arguments: make your case using SPECIFIC examples of what the recent changes in the monuments are damaging. The argument that the two monuments in question were created perfectly, and that any reduction to them is sacrilege to the land is absurd. Get real!

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 9:10 a.m.

    Finally, a pillar of truth, real truth about OUR public lands. To those detractors on this thread, please refute anything that was stated on this letter, Oh, and please use facts, not opinions.
    Also please explain how having these lands fenced off and ruined by extraction companies will leave some beauty and natural untouched lands for future generations. Remember, we living in this moment will not be here forever.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:58 a.m.

    Read the first line, then went to bottom of the page to see who authored this propaganda. As I suspected an ultra liberal elitist that represents a small minority, most of who are from the overpopulated and polluted coasts. Enough said.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:54 a.m.

    It is plain to see that the dialog over public lands in Utah is a loser for environmentalists, preservationists and the indigenous people.

    The voices of special commercial interests will always triumph. Special interests pay for the best pliable politicians that Utah can provide. And their investment is richly rewarded.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:50 a.m.

    BGuy: Great comment. I find it ironic that anything that doesn't subscribe to one's own world view is portrayed as being untruthful, as if the Sierra Club has a corner on truth and anyone who disagrees with them is straying from the truth.

    Like most social organizations, over time the most ardent and extreme participants rise to the top of the organization and so the entire organization migrates from rational to extreme positions. Sierra Club is just one example.

    I have no doubt it was founded by well meaning people who wanted to act as watchdogs against government abuse. But it has migrated to an extreme "economic terrorist" organization that has lost all sense of perspective and fights just to fight. As a result, they have lost all credibility and so they lose in the court of public opinion even when they are fighting the good fight.

    Is there fight here a good one? I'm not expert enough to say but my knee-jerk reaction is that their position is a fringe position so I regard it as an extremist outlier. It's too bad because the original, rational mission of the Sierra Club has been vacated.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:22 a.m.

    Outstanding column.

    There is zero balance in the stance of Utah's politicians. Many Utahns want to honor the Native Americans and support Bears Ears National Monument, but the locals and extractive industries want to undo anything Obama did, in the process insulting the tribes who came together to suggest BENM 8 years ago.

    The frenzy is so bad that Utah's leaders fawned all over Trump when he came here to slash BENM and GSE - yet were stunned when Trump's political brother Bannon attacked Mitt Romney and Mormons the very next day.

    (Surely Utahns aren't so blind to see the connection? We were sold in getting complete loyalty for Trump by Orrin Hatch. The next day, we were used again in riling up Evangelicals in Alabama. This is transactional politics at its worst. It's so blatant it should be obvious to even those who don't follow politics or the news.)

    So, really - what was accomplished? What was lost? Think about this, deeply.

  • BGuy Falls Church, VA
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:09 a.m.

    This op-ed has a very ironic title...

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:08 a.m.

    In "our opinion"? Is this the opinion of the Deseret News, or the Utah chapter of the Sierra Club? Or, are the two, one and the same?

    I have personal evidence that litigation is the profit motive for many so-called environmental groups. A couple of decades ago, I sold some promotional items to a law firm who was then promoting supposedly a pro or friendly environmental stance.

    But I could tell that the whole charade was merely grist for the suit mill. Make claims and accusations of others evil motives, and then "back it up" with lawsuits.

    Profit motive? Greed? There are many ways to make a buck in this country. And I believe that the old Nephite method, laid out in the Book of Mormon, is one of those ways.

    Lawyers get paid according to the time they put in to try cases. And, much like a politician looking for every way to tax things, so, likewise, lawyers look for every away they can make a buck suing someone.

    I propose that this is one of the major profit motives of so-called environmental groups. Of course, by making this claim, I will unlikely be published on this comment in this paper.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 7:56 a.m.

    These places are constantly thrown under the bus by politicians who misinform the public about the value of Native American history while favoring certain industries over others.

    Yeah, what a coincidence that those exact same industries that they favor are the ones that throw piles of cash to them and their election parties. It's bribery, pure and simple, and should be illegal. These are the same Utah politicians that sincerely believe they are morally superior due to their membership in a certain church. They are not, and they don't have ethics or morality in the public lands arena.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    Dec. 9, 2017 7:49 a.m.

    Sorry, I couldn't find a word of truth in this article.