Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - Header
Ed Moss

NM - legal update (header)

Legal Update

Grand Staircase-Escalante - legal update (text)

Following President Trump's slashing of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Trust and our partners filed suit. We believe his actions were unlawful, but it will probably be years before the courts conclusively rule on that question.

Lands stripped of protection

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson

Grand Staircase - Restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

Restore Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante - what happens (2)

Now fragmented into three units, Trump’s shrunken monument opens up hundreds of thousands of acres of previously protected land to mining, drilling, increased off-road vehicle use, and destructive vegetation treatments, including tearing down pinyon and juniper trees and re-seeding with non-native grasses for catttle. Plus, the Bureau of Land Management approved new land-management plans for the shrunken Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that fail to meet even the minimum legal standard for how national monuments must be managed. Read more ›

map of mining claims in bears ears and grand staircase

Blake McCord

GSENM - Monument management plans

Monument management plan lacks protections

The Bureau of Land Management rushed to approve a new management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante that opens its lands to clear-cutting, increased off-road vehicle use, cattle grazing, and more. Find out what the hurried plan means for the monument's resources ›

Grand Staircase-Escalante - current work (intro)

The Grand Canyon Trust has been working to protect lands within Grand Staircase-Escalante National monument for more than two decades.

In 1997, when the Utah Association of Counties and Mountain States Legal Foundation sued the government over President Clinton’s monument designation, we intervened to help defend Grand Staircase-Escalante. We also have a long history of advocating for better management of livestock grazing in the monument, including documenting impacts of overgrazing, supporting the removal of invasive Russian olive and tamarisk from the Escalante River corridor, measuring biological soil crusts (or lack therof), and working with willing ranchers to retire grazing permits along the Escalante River. Cow-free for 20 years, the Escalante River canyons have transformed into oases lush with native plants and wildlife. 

But the final monument management plan unravels the pragmatic compromise we reached with ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management, and reopens nearly 50,000 acres to livestock grazing. 

Read: The Artlessness of Backing out of a Deal ›

Heavily grazed lands in Grand Staircase-Escalante

Grand Staircase-Escalante - Johnson Lakes (text)

What recovering land looks like

Richard and Susan Knezevich own 800 acres of cattle-free land surrounded on three sides by Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. In 2014, they teamed up with the Trust to establish Johnson Lakes Canyon as a long-term restoration site. Thanks to the Knezeviches, volunteers, and the fence that keeps cattle out, native plants, animals, and biocrusts are returning and wetlands are improving across their property. Johnson Lakes is a lesson in recovery and an example of what Grand Staircase-Escalante could look like if cattle were managed differently on monument lands. More about Johnson Lakes ›

Cattle-free land in Johnson Lakes Canyon

Marra Clay
Marra Clay
Marra Clay
Marra Clay
Ed Moss

Grand Staircase-Escalante - CPE

Experience Grand Staircase

Whether you squeeze through narrow slot canyons, traverse across slickrock, or float down the Escalante River, you’ll quickly see why Grand Staircase-Escalante deserves protection as a national monument. 

Explore the monument on foot ›

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