On Monday, President Trump is expected to visit the state of Utah in order to lay out his plan to reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monuments.
Utah officials have stated that Trump has claimed he is going to largely reduce both of the monuments. Recent reports have stated that he is planning on cutting the size of Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante from 1.9 million acres to just 997,490 acres.
This reduction will be the most significant by any president made under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president authority to protect imperiled sites on federal lands and in federal waters.
But many republicans, including President Trump, have argued that other presidents have abused their authority under the Antiquities Act by putting these large areas, that could be used for industrial development, under protection.
And like many of Trump’s decisions, this one is not getting by without some resistance. Environmentalists and several Naive American tribes have said they will seek legal action if any of these changes go through, which they don’t think he will be able to do under the Antiquities Act.
Five Native American tribes - the Hopi, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe - make up the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and would be greatly effected by the loss of this land.
With Trump’s announcement of the visit, there was an immediate outburst from conservationists and tribal leaders who have worked for the protection of the monuments. “The president is capping his celebration of Native American History Month by opening the door to new drilling and mining on land considered sacred by tribal nations” stated Jennifer Rokala from the Center for Western Priorities.
Patagonia Inc., an outdoor gear and company known for their sustainability and conservation efforts, led the charge in helping to promote the protection and education of this land.
At this years Outdoor Trade Show in Salt Lake City, they campaigned for these these lands to Utah politicians and public lands officials. They focused mainly on the Bears Ears monument, curating films showing the beauty of the area and what it has to offer.
After the Outdoor Trade Show, Patagonia didn’t stop their campaigns to help the monuments. Over this past year they have been working to raise money and awareness for the lands.
They launched a campaign to flood Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s office with support for the Bears Ears monument. Using the Phone2Action site, they were able to refer many organizations and supporters to the Governors office, and offer them several talking points on the subject to allow them to show their knowledge and support on the subject.
Not only that, but they have raised more than 750,000 dollars that have been donated to organizations that help monument protection. These include many that aim to help the monuments in Utah including the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition and the Friends of Cedar Mesa.
Patagonia senior photo editor, Jane Sievert, stated “The Bears Ears and Grand Stair case are national cultural treasures that need to be protected as National Monuments - not sold off to greedy politicians who want to exploit it for resources.”
As a business, Patagonia is using their platform to help fight for land preservation, and things they believe in. They are not caught up in being a major corporation, and work for helping the world in positive ways, rather than on just making money and creating more wealth for themselves.