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Biden might reverse Trump's moves to shrink National Monuments in Utah

Published January 26, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — The Trump administration's controversial decision to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments' borders in Utah is under review with President Joe Biden is considering restoring the original borders.

The White House announced its intentions Wednesday. In consultation with other cabinet members, Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt has been instructed to decide if restoring the boundaries would be appropriate and to report his findings to Biden within 60 days.

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante are remote but occasional destinations for road and gravel cyclists, and several bike tour companies have permits to run tours through each area. 

The New York Times reported that in March 2017 that an aide of Sen. Orrin Hatch emailed a senior Interior Department official to float the idea of mining the Bears Ears Monument for oil and gas. In December, then President Donald Trump issued an executive order to reduce Bears Ears by 85%. Five tribal groups and the Patagonia apparel brand filed lawsuits.

President Barack Obama established the monument in the final weeks of his presidency in 2017. Efforts to reverse or modify the designation were opposed by many in the outdoor industry, which contributed to the decision to move the Outdoor Retailer trade shows from Salt Lake City to Denver in 

A northern wing of the Bears Ears Monument extends to just south of the mountain bike destination of Moab, bordering Dead Horse State Park; although the bulk of the monument is far south and west of Moab.

Riders in Grand Staircase-Escalante in 2017.

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