Local News

No Monument Status For Land Surrounding The Grand Canyon National Park

January 25, 2017

 President Obama left office without giving monument status to the lands surround the Grand Canyon National Park.  Such a move could have greatly impacted Stilo’s controversial development plans for Tusayan.

Tusayan’s Mayor Craig Sanderson welcomed the news. Sanderson said, “The council was opposed to monument status as it effects our ability as a community to be able to provide opportunities for home ownership, for land acquisition, anything that might be able to improve the quality of life, internet, broadband.” The Mayor added, “We are excited about our continued ability to work with the Forest Service, having reasonable opportunities—we know it’s a challenge. But at least there are opportunities.”

Sandy Bahr, Director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club has a different take, “"The lands beyond the rim of Grand Canyon are no less spectacular, biologically rich, culturally important, and economically vital than before, but they do now face greater threats. A monument designation would have helped to permanently protect the region from uranium mining and helped keep intact the remaining old growth ponderosa pines. While we will have to wait a bit for a monument designation, our work to protect this region will not stop. We remain committed to protecting Grand Canyon and its watershed."

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, and a supporter of the designation, received word from the White House that Obama would not act, partly blaming Interior Secretary Sally Jewell according to a report in the Cronkite News Service.  “I’m disappointed and actually quite frustrated with the Interior secretary. She’s had all the information for about eight months and she didn’t go to the president to act on it,” Grijalva said.

That, despite the fact that an online petition to protect the area got as many as 900,000 signatures, he said. Grijalva said he has little hope for a monument designation under the administration of incoming President Donald Trump, but would move forward to protect the Grand Canyon in other ways, including legislation limiting gas, oil and mining.