Sec. Zinke May Shrink, but Won’t Eliminate National Monuments

BILLINGS, Mont.— Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he’s concluded the review of national monuments that began in April. Zinke told the Associated Press (AP) today that while some monuments will face boundary adjustments, none of the 27 parks under review will be eliminated. 

Zinke will present his review to President Trump today.

Planned recommendations, according to AP reports, include restoring or maintaining access for recreational users like hunters and anglers. The Secretary declined to speculate if portions of the monuments will be opened up to mining, logging, and oil and gas drilling—stated goals of the Trump administration.

“There’s an expectation we need to look out 100 years from now to keep the public land experience alive in this country,” Zinke told reporters. “You can protect the monument by keeping public access to traditional uses.”

“I’ve heard this narrative that somehow the land is going to be sold or transferred,” Zinke said. “That narrative is patently false and shameful. The land was public before and it will be public after.”

Initially applauded by the outdoor industry, Secretary Zinke has come under public scrutiny from conservation groups this summer, highlighted by a protest at Salt Lake City’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Expo. That rally saw hundreds of outdoor retail manufacturers, buyers and tribal leaders march on the state capitol, many with signs and words aimed squarely at the former Navy SEAL-turned-politician.

At that rally, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke urged anglers and hunters to come together with hikers, climbers, and backpackers to protect public lands.

Each of the monuments under review was created during the past two decades under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. The National Park Service says there is historical precedent for redrawing national monument boundaries, as it’s happened 18 times previously. Zinke told reporters that of the 27 monuments reviewed, only a handful would see boundaries redrawn.

Reviewed monuments relevant to the fishing industry include:

  • Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument — Montana
  • Hanford Reach National Monument — Washington
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — Utah
  • Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument — Atlantic Ocean/Massachusetts
  • Rose Atoll Marine National Monument — American Samoa
  • Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument — Pacific Ocean
  • Marianas Trench National Monument — Pacific Ocean
  • Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument — Hawaii/Pacific Ocean