Fighting for Escalante National Monument
My connection to the monument
My earliest memories of the monument occurred when I was about 12. My father had recently received a guide book to Utah and decided to go explore this region of the state. We began in Calf Creek Falls but eventually explored deeper into the canyons. This trip kicked off a series of trips that solidify my love for this area and possibly changed the direction of my life. From this time, I have focused my education on biology with the purpose of conserving animals and places like this.
I eventually was hired to work as a biologist in this region and the surrounding area. I spent weeks within these canyons sampling the fish to help with monitoring programs. I have worked in the mountains above the monument monitoring threatened amphibians and fish and assessing habitat quality. Additionally, I have helped with herpetological sampling within the monument as well. Currently, I do research on the adjacent monument, Lake Powell, and the impacts of invasive species.
On December 4th, 2017 President Donald Trump gave a speech in Salt Lake City and reduced the size of Escalante National Monument by 1.88 million acres. This declaration opened the land to additional cattle grazing, mining, and management techniques that would do irreparable damage.
Since this has happened these predictions have come true. Beginning in 2018 new mining claims have been posted in regions of Escalante that were once in the monument (1). Then in 2019 the proposed management plan for the newly reorganized landscape proposed increasing the number of cattle on the landscape, remove the protection for the canyons and use management techniques that are for the sole purpose of increasing cattle on the landscape (2). though I am not opposed to cattle on the landscape, this move was a blatant attempt to overstep wise stewardship with temporary goals of political interests.
What I have Done
Since this change in the monument, I have done the following:
Written to BLM for all comments on management plans.
Written to senators both of the Senate and the House of Representatives
Written to the governor of Utah about the issue.
Participated in fundraising events for the organizations actively involved in lawsuits
Been a jerk a few times and I am sorry to those who have been on that end of things. I am trying to better.
Been an outspoken individual for the monument.
Photographed the region so a record of what it is can be preserved and shared.
What you can Do
Though current lawsuits are still underway that will determine the fate of the president's actions, there are a few things you can still do. First is to follow organizations like Escalante Grand Staircase Partners and Grand Canyon Trust. These organizations actively monitor conservation issues throughout the region and invite you to get involved. Second, it to act when the need arises. Third, is to donate to these organizations so they can maintain their work at protecting these landscapes.
One More Thing
Has the monument had an impact on your life? How has it changed you? If you want to submit your story below and I will create a page that contains these stories so the world can know how this special place has affected you.