NEWS

Trump Culls Two National Parks By Over 50%

Matt Charnock
Author
Matt Charnock
Trump Culls Two National Parks By Over 50%

The State Parks of the United States hold some of the world’s greatest, most sought after natural destinations anywhere on the planet. But, if the current administration has its way, it may be opening up the gates to those natural landmarks, leaving them vulnerable third-party buy-outs.

On Monday, President Trump signed two proclamations, shrinking federally protected lands in Utah in the largest rollback of national monument designations in history. Now, the Bears Ears National Monument will shrink to 220,000 acres from its current 1.5 million-acre size, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be cut in half to about 1 million acres, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said.

To put that figure into perspective: imagine walking into your everyday 2,500 square foot home and then, one day, finding it reduce to a small 400 square foot studio apartment.

Trump stood by his odious decision by saying that previous administrations overstepped their authority in declaring vast tracts of western lands off limits to use and development, abusing the "purpose, spirit and intent" of a century-old law known as the Antiquities Act.

"These abuses of the Antiquities Act give enormous power to faraway bureaucrats at the expense of people who work here, live here, and make this place their home," Trump said at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. "Because we know that people who are free to use their land and enjoy their land are the people who are most determined to preserve their land."

Ranchers, local governments, and some tribal leaders and other residents have applauded Trump's decision — because now they can, essentially, pillage the land for anything that bears a price tag for profit. On the flipside, environmentalists and most tribal groups have condemned the decision and promised to fight it in court, questioning whether the president can rescind a national monument without an act of Congress.

Trump signed an executive order in April asking for a review of his predecessors' use of the to designate federal lands as national monuments, claiming that it was an overstep of power. Because former administrators had purposed designate the land to protect from development, mining and drilling.

Given the widespread and appropriate backlash from both sides of the isle that’s already mounting and gaining traction, we can only assume it’ll be just a manner of when, not if, Trump’s recent decision will be put forth a federal judge.

(Feature image, courtesy of NPS)