WASHINGTON, DC — Late yesterday, it was announced that President Joe Biden will restore protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

In reaction to the announcement, Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, a national organization representing current, former, and retired National Park Service employees, issued the following statement:

“Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments need protection now – and we thank President Biden for delivering them today. During the previous administration, we witnessed a relentless attack on our country’s national parks and monuments, including rollbacks of protections that have put irreplaceable natural and cultural resources at risk.

“Utah’s incredible national monuments are critical cultural, historical, and environmental sites that are a core part of our shared national heritage. Protecting them is vital not only to the environment but to our collective history.

“With visitation to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante increasing, today’s announcement of restored protections will help ensure the safety of our resources and offer a better experience for those who visit.

“We are grateful that Secretary Deb Haaland and President Biden believe as deeply as we do in the importance of Utah’s national monuments – and thank them for delivering on their campaign promise to restore protections to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.”

“This should just be the beginning. Across the United States, our lands and waterways need protection. We urge President Biden and his Administration to move swiftly to protect more public lands to meet the goals of the America the Beautiful initiative.”

Find the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, a coalition of Tribal leaders representing Indigenous groups in Utah, which had long pushed for the restoration of these national monuments, statement here: [LINK]

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