Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dissecting the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument proposal

The proposal to create a Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument has newspapers in the region weighing in with some more nuanced and thoughtful discussions than we often see in likely contentious issues like this. [Right, view of proposed monument area.  Credit, Steve Bridgehouse, as posted on the Sierra Club site]

The St. George (Utah) News starts off with the statement, "For well over a century the complicated and often uneasy relationships between conservationists, miners, ranchers, and the U.S. Forest service over the Grand Canyon watershed continue."   The writer proceeds to offer insights from each of those constituencies, in a non-pejorative manner.

The Arizona (Flagstaff) Daily Sun, starts off, "How much of a buffer around the Grand Canyon is enough?" and asks a set of questions:

Is multiple use no longer feasible if the natural qualities of the region are to be preserved?
-- Are those natural qualities special enough to justify federal protected status?
-- Do all 1.7 million acres need to be protected in what amounts to a nearly unbroken landscape 100 miles wide and 100 miles deep?
-- Can the conservation strategies employed by current land managers be made more responsive to concerns raised by monument proponents -- without the need to create a monument?
They conclude, "A new national monument extending all the way to the Utah border should have outstanding natural qualities that override traditional multiple uses."


  1. Anonymous11:13 PM

    The national monument has one quality that justifies it: it pleases the obstructionist environmentalists who support Obama.

    If they had their way, there would be no mining, no drilling, no anything except windmills (made from Unicorn horns or something).

    1. Russell Lowes3:29 PM

      . . .Yeah, like Barry Goldwater, Teddy Roosevelt, and many of the thoughtful Republicans who supported Wilderness Area designation in the past, and many who support it today.
      National Parks and wilderness protection is an American idea. The U.S. is now behind the rest of the world in protected lands designations, at about 4% of its total landmass. This 4% is about equal to the amount of land that is covered with concrete and asphalt in our nation.
      The world average for protected lands is now about 15%! Countries like Taiwan are even higher at 60%! Balance is what is needed to protect biological diversity, to promote economic health of societies, etc.

  2. Anonymous6:25 AM

    If it had originally been in the hands of our Arizona state legislators, the Grand Canyon would not exist as it is today. It would be the world's largest open pit mine. I'm thankful for diversity, but I vote for water quality as a priority.