Surrounding Canyonlands National Park are 1.4 million acres of lands that deserve protection under the Antiquities Act and represent a tremendous opportunity for President Obama to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. This is a vast and astonishing landscape of high plateaus; the essential sky-island watershed of the Abajo Mountains; stunning geologic formations; 12,000-year old sites left by mammoth hunters, an incomparable archaeological record of Ancestral Puebloan life; and unmatched natural beauty. Greater Canyonlands is a startlingly vulnerable expanse filled with scientific, cultural, and recreational riches — one of the last intact continuous landscapes in southern Utah’s Red Rock Country.
Greater Canyonlands is a world-class outdoor playground. In Utah, outdoor recreation is an overlooked economic giant, generating $5.8 billion annually and providing 65,000 jobs. Since 1982, every national monument over 10,000 acres has resulted in improved local economies. A rural county with 100,000 acres of protected public lands has, on average, a per capita income that is $4,360 higher than a county with no protected lands.
Proclaiming a Greater Canyonlands National Monument would knit together the interlocking land management designations in a complementary system to protect the most threatened resources including rare plants, Puebloan ruins, and rock art; permit native plants and wildlife to migrate freely in response to climate and environmental changes; ameliorate conflicts among ORV users and other recreationists; create a vital buffer for Canyonlands National Park; and facilitate a more comprehensive management approach based on watersheds and water conservation.
National monument designation is different from either Wilderness or National Park designation. It would not exclude ORV use or horses, but it would direct riders away from the most fragile areas, protecting both diverse recreation uses and an irreplaceable ecosystem. It would promote both recreation and the tourist economy of local communities, while at the same time, prevent large-scale damage from Tar Sands development, potash development, and oil and gas drilling. Protecting this area is critical to maintaining both the quantity and quality of water flowing in the Colorado River, and its tributaries, that provide essential water for 27 million people, as well as agriculture, and businesses downstream.
Visual and factual video on Greater Canyonlands:
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