November 19, 2018, Washington DC – Outdoor Alliance submitted an amicus brief in support of challenges to the Trump Administration’s illegal reductions to Bears Ears National Monument.
Outdoor Alliance represents the interests of millions of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, paddlers, backcountry skiers, and mountain bikers, whose interests are compromised by the administration’s presidential proclamation in December 2017, reducing the size of Bears Ears National Monument.
Although most famous for its world-class rock climbing, Bears Ears is also home to paddling, hiking, and camping. Outdoor Alliance and its members have paddled the San Juan, climbed Valley of the Gods, hiked the Abajo Mountains, and slept under the desert stars. The administration’s illegal rollbacks put these landscapes and activities in jeopardy through mismanagement and ramped up extractive development.
“There is a richness and diversity of meaning in the landscapes of Bears Ears National Monument,” said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance. “Climbing or paddling in these settings leaves an impression that can linger for a lifetime. Given the power of place, and the power of this place, the commitment of the human-powered community to restore Bears Ears National Monument is unshakable.”
National Monuments are one tool that can help protect the unique values of public lands. The Trump Administration has made clear its intent to open up oil and gas drilling within the Bears Ears National Monument, activities which were largely prohibited when the monument was designated.
In fact, the proclamation expressly notes that the goal of the reductions is to open up the land for oil and gas exploration. Left unprotected, Bears Ears National Monument is likely to be leased for oil and gas, or opened up for mineral exploration. These activities would damage this landscape and damage outdoor recreation activities invaluable to Outdoor Alliance’s community.
“The shameless actions of the Trump Administration, first in disregarding the sentiments of the millions of Americans who wrote in defense of our National Monuments, and second in enacting massive rollbacks to once-permanent protections are totally without precedent,” said Louis Geltman, Policy Director for Outdoor Alliance.
The administration has acted to advance the goals of a narrow set of interests, goals which would irrevocably damage a spectacular landscape that the outdoor community has enjoyed for decades and Native American communities since time immemorial. Outdoor Alliance joins a number of groups filing amicus briefs in support of this case, including members of Congress, Utah mayors, groups of professors and archaeologists, and the National Congress of American Indians.
About Outdoor Alliance
Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, The Mountaineers, American Alpine Club, and the Mazamas. Outdoor Alliance unites backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. For more information, visit outdooralliance.org.
Tania Lown-Hecht, Outdoor Alliance / Communications Director
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