National Monuments and National Conservation Areas: A Comparison in Light of the Bears Ears Proposal
Stegner Center White Paper No. 2016-02
17 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2016 Last revised: 5 Oct 2016
Date Written: September 9, 2016
Southeastern Utah is the site of an intense and ongoing debate over how to manage and protect our public lands. While a broad consensus has emerged favoring additional protections for the region, what form those protections should take is a matter of intense debate. Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz propose to protect the region via two adjacent National Conservation Areas (NCA): the Bears Ears NCA (857,603 acres), and the Indian Creek NCA (434,354 acres). In contrast, a group of five Native American tribes is urging President Obama to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument spanning 1.9 million acres, which would include the land from the two NCAs noted above plus an additional 608,000 culturally-sensitive acres. This paper compares and contrasts congressional NCA designations, and presidential national monument proclamations. Our aim is to compare the two mechanisms as they relate to this common landscape, and to inform the public’s understanding of each.
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