The Antiquities was a vehicle that "initiated" the creation of most of
the National Parks in Utah. And if one looks at other states in the West, they
will find the same. The name of the law may be bothersome to many, apparently
it is, and the reach used by various presidents is deemed "annoying" by
opponents. Still, when you think about Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweep, Natural
Bridges - there were reams of opponents back then and still enough political
will "and a legal vehicle" to bring about "their creation". The
GSENM has been in existence for 20 years, various business operations have
blossomed and others (extraction & timber) have receded; and the challenge
of "viability" in the rural sector has continued to challenge parts of
Garfield County. To suggest though that the monument has injured the communities
economically and culturally is mostly an "ideological" sentiment and not
based on nuanced diverse information. Spend time with scientists and/or
archaeologists and one can have a new and interesting look & feel for the
country - and those that graze cattle (historically) continue in the same manner
and number since the monument creation.
I'm all for getting rid of them entirely. I would like to see a good coal
mine and a few oil rigs down there with ATV trails EVERYWHERE!!!
I say shrink them even more. And pass a law that any monument designations can
be no larger than 10 acres and must be voted on by those living in the
boundaries of the monument.
When will this ever end?
The Antiquities Act was meant to preserve, well, antiquities. If the monument
advocates would be forthright and simply say we want to prevent any future
mining or drilling on this property rather than saying they want to preserve
specific, unique antiquities which are already protected by the BLM, their
argument would be more credible. On the other hand it is difficult to make the
case for mineral extraction in view of their atrocious environment record.
Springdale, Moab and the counties that have the National Parks will gladly take
all those tourist dollars. Not so incidentally, tourism brings
significantly more dollars to Utah than extraction and grazing.