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Reader: Save our national monuments 

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Although President Donald Trump came into office praising America's greatest hunter-conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt, and vowing to follow in his footsteps, he's instead opted to do the opposite. Most recently, he's taken steps to drastically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah: Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears.

Talk of shrinking national monuments strikes home across the border in Colorado, as explained by Grand Junction Mayor Pro Tem Bennett Boeschenstein. Visitation at Colorado National Monument "keeps going up year after year," Boeschenstein said. Instead of shrinking national monuments, there should be talk of expanding them, he added.

Suzanne Catlett, board president of the Escalante and Boulder Utah Chamber of Commerce, says the local tourism industry has thrived since the designation of Grand Staircase-Escalante. "Thanks to our national monuments, people want to live here, and new home construction is at an all-time high," Catlett said. "Shrinking these national monuments would harm our local businesses."

Jay Banta is a 63-year-old Utahan and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers member who likes nothing better than tramping across Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, hoping to kill wild turkey, chukar, sharp-tailed grouse or deer. "Sportsmen are united on this issue," Banta says. "They oppose any changes." "The people spoke on this in the public comment period — with over 1 million comments sent in—and 99 percent were against any changes," he said.

For additional information, see BHA's National Monument Hunting & Habitat Maps (for six Western national monuments targeted by Interior Secretary Zinke for modification, reduction or elimination).

— David A. Lien, Chairman, Colorado, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

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