President Trump’s executive order on Monday slashing the size of two national monuments in southern Utah was hailed in advance by locals in San Juan County.
On Saturday, in anticipation of his announcement, about 200 supporters of the rollbacks gathered in Monticello to thank the president for heeding their voices. Trump issued two proclamations Monday while in the state Capitol in Salt Lake City that reduced Bears Ears National Monument in San Juan County from 1.35 million acres to about 200,000, divided into two parcels. He also chopped Grand Staircase-Escalante in Kane and Garfield counties into three tracts totaling roughly half of the original 1.9 million acres. At Saturday’s rally, San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams said “a false narrative” had been put forth about the people of his county. He thanked Utah Senator Orrin Hatch for urging Trump to make the rollbacks. Adams praised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, saying Zinke listened to local views rather than those of national nonprofit groups. Adams also thanked supporters from nearby counties in Colorado, including Commissioner Larry Don Suckla of Montezuma County and Commissioner Steve Garchar of Dolores County. Utah State Senator David Hinkins told the crowd they had won a battle but said he didn’t believe they have yet won the war. Hinkins added, “We need to get control of these lands under the State of Utah.”