“While not entirely unexpected, we are frustrated and disappointed in President Biden’s creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument in northern Arizona. The Arizona Strip is geographically separated from the rest of Arizona, and is culturally tied closely to Utah. Many ranchers in Washington and Kane Counties in Utah graze their cattle during the summer in the higher altitudes in Southern Utah, and later winter in the lower elevations found on the Arizona Strip. Despite this fact, not a single public meeting was held in southern Utah to address the concerns of Utah ranchers.

Ranching in the Arizona Strip is economically vital to the people of Southern Utah. Ranchers contribute substantially to rural economies by hiring workers, making payments on bank loans, buying supplies, and engaging in many other types of commercial activity. In addition to grazing’s economic value, public land grazing also contributes significantly to rangeland fire suppression, control of invasive species, and improvement of wildlife habitat.

The use of the Antiquities Act to designate this National Monument is a blunt tool that does not provide for the robust public process that Americans expect and that decisions of this magnitude merit in our modern era. The Antiquities Act is itself a relic of the past, as it pre-dates the establishment of five states – including Arizona, the establishment of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service, and the enactment of major environmental and archeological resource protection laws. 

Proponents of the National Monument know there has not been sufficient support in Congress, despite years of bill introductions, so they have been calling on the President to take unilateral action instead. The designation of this National Monument via executive fiat is yet another example of executive overreach. 

We are pleased that many of the requests to protect existing grazing rights and other local land use protections appear to have been included in the proclamation, but we will wait to review the management plans.”

-Utah Farm Bureau Federation