Three major national monuments have had their environmental protections restored.
President Joe Biden said Thursday that he will use his executive authority to restore environmental protections to Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, reversing moves by former President Donald Trump.
Bears Ears National Monument, which was designated a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016, will have the 1.3 million acre boundaries restored. Grand Staircase-Escalante, which was established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, will have its 1.8 million acre boundaries reinstated. And protections will also be restored to Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, which was established by Obama in 2016.
“The outdoor industry has long championed the protection of public lands and strongly supports the reinstatement of these National Monuments,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “Our national monuments, forests, and parks provide places for respite, reflection, recreation and restoration and are more important than ever as part of natural solutions to climate change. We thank Secretary Haaland and President Biden for recognizing the importance of the rich cultural and natural resources, honors Indigenous peoples, and benefits all Americans.”
Todd Spaletto, president of Dick’s Sporting Goods’ outdoor retail arm Public Lands, also weighed in.
“We are very encouraged by today’s decision to restore and expand protections for these iconic and special places that are sacred to North America’s first inhabitants,” Spaletto said. “We all need to do our part to ensure our public lands and outdoor spaces receive the protection they deserve and we hope this critically important action will create momentum toward the goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and ocean by 2030.”
In a joint statement, Renita Smith and Emily Newman, co-CEOs of the Camber Outdoors organization, said of the news, “At Camber we work on building inclusive, equitable and diverse workplaces across the Outdoor Recreation Economy. Interior Secretary Haaland’s work to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments is an historic example of all that can be accomplished with a diversity of leadership, collaborative participation and respectful partnership at all levels of organizations. Future generations are placing trust in us all to build inclusion, equity and diversity into our decision-making. Today’s decision delivered on that trust.”
Lowa GM Peter Sachs, who was also publicly critical of Trump’s national monument reductions, also shared his thoughts.
“It’s great to hear the president is choosing the environment and respect for these areas and their history and heritage over development. It’s a win,” Sachs said. “They should remain in their natural state for all future generations.”
The North Face, one of the more outspoken brands regarding monument reduction, issued a statement. “Bears Ears holds a special place in our hearts, as a proving ground for many of our climbers and other athletes. We applaud the Biden administration in restoring full protections for the Bears Ears National Monument and commend the thoughtful efforts from tribal leaders, community members and millions of Americans who care about the future of this place,” the company said. “Our public lands are cherished and vibrant places and protecting them for future generations to explore is deeply important to us.”
In April 2017, then President Trump signed an executive order to review all national monuments created since 1996, which had then interior secretary Ryan Zinke look into national monuments spanning at least 100,000 acres. The order reviewed monuments declared not only by Obama, but also by Clinton and President George W. Bush.
Major players in the outdoor industry slammed the decision, including Patagonia, The North Face and the Outdoor Industry Association.
In December 2017, Trump reduced the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half.
This, too, was met with anger from the industry. Perhaps no voice was louder than Patagonia, which delivered a bold message via its website, stating The President Stole Your Land.”